Philippine BRP Ramon Alcaraz outfitted with ASW capabilities, Harpoon missiles

The Philippine Navy's (PN) second Hamilton Class cutter, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), will be fitted with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, a military spokesman said.

Alcaraz, now undergoing sea trial off the waters off South Carolina, is expected to leave the US and sail to the Philippines first week June. The ship is scheduled to arrive in the country by August.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, the PN spokesman, said the ASW capability will be installed on the Alcaraz and a helicopter that will be assigned to her. ASW or Anti-submarine warfare capability refers to the capability to detect, track and destroy submarines.

"As an additional asset it will greatly improve our maritime domain/situational awareness (capability) because of its capable of long range deployment," said Fabic.

At present, the Filipino warship is believed to be carrying an 76mm Oto Melara automatic cannon, two 25 Bushmaster guns and assorted machine guns.

It is also reported to be carrying a Harpoon anti-ship missile system.

Also, since the ship is fitted with hangar facilities, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz can embark a naval helicopter that can further extend its monitoring and detection capability.

"A helicopter can be launched from the vessel allowing wider and further coverage," said Fabic, who also disclosed that additional surveillance equipment like radar can also be installed on the ship.

"As a platform, radar equipment like that of the littoral observation stations (coast watch stations) can be mounted for wider range data gathering. All of these will be linked in a shore facility for better command and control for effective decision making," the PN spokesman stressed.

According to Fabic, Alcaraz is "fully mission capable" on her arrival.

Manila Bulletin

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