UPDATE from the a local Philippine media website:
Philippine Navy to arm US-acquired ships
The official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the Gregorio del Pilar’s weapons system would be upgraded with Harpoon antiship missiles—described as a modern, all-weather, over-the-horizon defense system.
The Gregorio del Pilar,a decommissioned US Coast Guard cutter, was acquired last August as the Navy’s flagship vessel. Although “combat ready,” the US stripped the warship of its most sensitive armaments.
The Navy is getting another Hamilton-class cutter from the US, the Coast Guard cutter “Dallas,” and this would also be fitted with missiles here, the source said.
“These upgrades will make our Hamilton-class cutters more capable vessels. It will definitely satisfy our minimum deterrent capability as far as naval defense is concern,” the official said.
AUTHOR’S ASSESSMENT of the NEW UPDATE:
AFP Modernization and/or Military enthusiast, lets rejoice! This news is better than the TA-50 acquisition. Maybe because it was not expected by the majority of the AFP fans. It was not unknown to us that a former sister ship of our Gregorio del Pilar-class Patrol Frigate, the USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) was tested during the 90’s to be equipped and capable on firing the Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles. It was installed, tested, and successfully fired (see the left image). Proving the capability and versatility of the Hamilton-class Cutters.
Based on the U.S. Coast Guard website, the USCGC Mellon was not only equipped with Harpoons, but it was also equipped with Anti-Submarine Capability like Sonars, Torpedo Decoys and Torpedoes themselves. If the government is willing to spend huge amount of money for the full upgrade of the Goyo and Alcaraz up to a Mellon class of upgrade, they can be a formidable escort along with the future Maestrale-class Guided Missile Frigates.
Up until now, I am still in a state of shock. Getting the Maestrale-class Frigates were kinda expected, but arming the Goyo-class was unthinkable. Considering that the United States removed its sensors and even its Phalanx CIWS. Now I know the reason why the Philippine Government bought the Maestrale-class Anti-Submarine Frigate, instead of the Lupo-class Anti-Surface Frigate. It’s because they have plans for the Gregorio del Pilar-class to be equipped with Anti-Ship Missile capability, so they don’t need the Lupo-class anymore. Because if the Gregorio del Pilar-class Patrol Frigate will be upgraded into a Guided Missile Frigate, then the PN will be needing a Submarine Deterrent which will be the Maestrale-class Frigate. I guess the Goyo-class will not be called a “Gunboat” by the Chinese.
And don’t forget that the Government is also in the canvassing mode for Anti-Submarine Helicopters. Putting these helo on the back of the said boats will bring an awesome punch back into our proud Navy. I just hope that this will continue with the help of our Working Filipinos to improve our economy so that we will have more purchasing power to buy new and more capable vessels in the future. An Aegis-equipped Destroyer perhaps? We’ll we need to contribute more into our economy, so keep on working and pay our taxes. Let’s make the most of our honest government whose being led by an honest administration.
“The military is not the Armed Forces of the Government, it is YOUR Armed Forces. Support them, Trust them, and Love them.” -the Author