Expect the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), the country's second Hamilton-class cutter in service, to be more capable in defending Philippine waters once its Mark 38 Model 2 25mm "Bushmaster" auto-cannons are installed before the end of the first quarter this year.
The weapons, which will act as its secondary guns to its quick firing 76mm Oto Melara main gun, will be fitted to the ship's port (left) and right (starboard) side, Navy spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, said.
He added that the weapons will be fitted to the ship by American armament specialists in the ship's Subic Bay, Zambales homeport.
The guns were supposed to be installed by a private shipyard but the costs was too expensive, prompting the Philippine Navy to seek US assistance.
The ship was commissioned last Nov. 22 at Manila South Harbor after which, was immediately deployed to help in the ongoing relief efforts for "Yolanda" battered Tacloban City.
The BRP Ramon Alcaraz arrived in the Philippines last Aug. 6 after a two-month voyage from the United States.
Fabic said that having the two "Bushmaster" auto-cannons in BRP Ramon Alcaraz's arsenal will greatly enhance the vessel's capability to deal with targets coming fast and too close to ship to utilize its 76mm cannon.
Military sources said the weapon was commissioned by the US Navy following the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000. It was designed to counter high-speed maneuvering surface targets and will be installed in almost all US surface ships by 2015.
The remotely controlled chain gun system can fire as many as 180 25mm rounds per minute at targets as far as two kilometers.
The new weapons systems are upgraded versions of the Mark 38 M242 "Bushmaster" that were removed from the vessels prior to its turnover to the Philippines.