Contrary to popular belief that BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) and her sister ship, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) are on their last legs of seagoing service, Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic on Monday said that these vessels are good as new thanks to top-to-bottom refurbishment at US shipyards.
"Their (Hamilton-class cutters in PN service) condition after their refurbishment can be described as good as new as everything worn-out, defective or old has been replaced with new parts," he pointed out.
Fabic cited the case of BRP Ramon Alcaraz which underwent an intensive refurbishment before proceeding on her two-month voyage to the
Included in the refurbishment of the latter ship is the replacement of one of its main engines and complete overhaul of the other one.
With these repairs, BRP Ramon Alcaraz's powerplant is in excellent condition.
With these upgrades, the ship was able to run up to 25 knots during the initial phase of her journey last June.
Improvements made in the Filipino vessel include installation of new communication and sensor devices aside from new weapons.
The two ships are a great help in boosting the PN'scapability to patrol and protect the country's vast coast lines which measures 36,289 kilometers (equivalent 22,549 miles) has been greatly boosted.
The BRP Ramon Alcaraz and the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar are ideal ships for this mission due to their range, speed, size and good sea-keeping capabilities.
Both vessels, designated as frigates in Philippine Navy (PN) service, weighs 3,250 tons, has a length of 378 feet, beam of 43 feet, and draft of 15 feet.
Its propulsion systems consist of two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines, giving it a top speed of 29 knots.
The ship has cruising range of 14,000 miles (equivalent to 22,530.816 kilometers) and has a sea and loiter time of 45 days.
PN flag-officer-in-charge Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano called the arrival of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz and delivery of the three naval helicopters by December a "significant milestone".
"The PN finds it to be a significant development in line with the (ongoing) modernization program and capability upgrade," he added.
"These helicopters are just a few among the list of future acquisition for the PN in order to attain its vision of becoming a strong and credible Navy that our maritime nation can be proud of," the PN chief emphasized.