Revised January 24, 2014. See bottom of the page for the complete revision history
As of this writing, the 2nd Hamilton-class Cutter (the BRP Ramon Alcaraz) acquired by the Philippine Navy (PhN) has finally arrived on Philippine shores, with the first one having arrived in 2011 (the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar). They are capable ships, the largest and heaviest armed ships in the history of the PhN, but for me they will still need to be upgraded by acquiring new equipment and weapons for them to be able to serve well in defending the Philippines’ territories at sea.
‘USCGC Mellon as Blueprint’
I think the PN will have to look at the USCGC Mellon as guide or blueprint for upgrading these ships. What happened was that starting in the 1980s, all Hamilton-class ships underwent a “Fleet Rehabilitation And Modernization (FRAM)” programme, and initially the programme sought to include better capabilities for these ships like Anti-Submarine and Anti-Ship warfare, and also Air-Defense.
This was at the height of the Cold War with Russia, and the US Navy (USN) felt that these ships needed these capabilities for them to better protect against sea-borne attacks on US soil. The Mellon was the first ship to get the FRAM upgrade, and ended up with the following capabilities and equipment:
– Air Defense: Air Search Radar, Close In Weapons System (CIWS)
– Anti-Ship Capability: Surface Search and Navigation Radar, 25mm and 76mm Autocannons, 8 Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles (AShMs)
– Anti-Submarine Warfare: Hull-mounted Sonar, 6 Torpedo Tubes
Continue reading Upgrading the Philippine Navy’s Hamilton Ships