2 Navy frigates to be equipped with missile systems
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 5, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Navy will equip its two frigates with missile systems, a move expected to strengthen its capability to secure the country’s territory.

Navy Vice Commander Rear Adm. Caesar Taccad confirmed in a recent interview with reporters that the acquisition of missile systems for BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz is “in the pipeline.”

The purchase seeks to maximize the potential of the two ships, the most advanced vessels in the Navy’s fleet.

Navy spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo said the missile system would extend the reach of their patrols. The ships no longer have to be in the actual location of aggressors once they are equipped with missile systems.

“It will help a lot in providing the deterrence we need. It will act as a force multiplier… We have a limited number of vessels. Our patrolling reach is comparatively limited so if we have a missile system, it will elevate our capability,” he explained.

“It will aid us in protecting our vast and porous borders,” he added.

BRP del Pilar was acquired from the US Coast Guard in 2011. The vessel has a 25-millimeter Bushmaster auto-cannon, a 76-millimeter Oto Melara cannon and machine guns.

BRP Alcaraz, on the other hand, was transferred from the US Coast Guard to the Philippine Navy in 2012. The ship also has an Oto Melara cannon, its main weapons system. Previous reports said the Navy would equip the vessel with a bushmaster auto-cannon, a .50 caliber machine gun and M60 light machine gun.

The two ships were involved in drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, living marine resources protection, and defense readiness before they were turned over to the Philippines.

The defense department is acquiring two more frigates worth P15.5 billion and ammunition worth P2.5 billion to beef up the military’s maritime security efforts. The project, one of the biggest in the armed forces’ upgrade program, is still undergoing public bidding.

The Navy has more than 100 ships in its fleet, but about a third are undergoing repairs or training.

It is expecting delivery of P6.4 billion worth of equipment, including strategic sealift vessels, additional naval helicopters and small amphibian vehicles.

 

ALCARAZ COAST GUARD EDGARD AREVALO GREGORIO NAVY NAVY VICE COMMANDER REAR ADM OTO MELARA PHILIPPINE NAVY RAMON ALCARAZ
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