Skip to main content

Briefer on the BRP Gregorio del Pilar


The latest addition to the Philippine Navy, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, formerly a Hamilton 378-foot High Endurance Cutter (WHEC) of the United States Coast Guard, arrived at Pier 13 of Manila’s South Harbor of Manila today and was inspected by President Benigno S. Aquino III. Its voyage from the United States took three weeks from Alameda Island, San Francisco, California.

Now the Philippine Navy’s largest vessel, BRP Gregorio del Pilar was laid down 1967 as the Hamilton, first of a class of 378-foot high endurance, Secretary Class (named after former Secretaries of the U.S. Treasury) cutter. Built primarily as a patrol ship for open ocean and long range operations, for decades they were the largest cutters in USCG inventory until the Polar Class cutters were laid down.

With a flight deck capable of landing a helicopter and a retractable hangar, these cutters were introduced to the U.S. Coast Guard inventory in the 1960s. Through the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) program that started in the 1980s ending in 1992 the entire class was modernized, which included the replacement of their original 5-inch (127 mm) gun with a much more modern 3-inch (76 mm) weapon.

The vessel was formally acquired by the Philippines last May 13 and is the first military acquisition of the Aquino administration through the Excess Defense Article (EDA) program of the United States. The BRP Gregorio del Pilar will be dry-docked, retrofitted, and given a fresh coat of paint showing the color gray of the Philippine Navy. The Navy expects to commission the ship after one month.

Established by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, EDA allows defense articles declared as excess by the Military Department of the United States to be offered to support their allies in their modernization efforts. Through EDA, the Philippine Navy was able to acquire the Hamilton cutter and paid a transfer cost of Php 450 million which covered the transfer from U.S. Inventory to Philippine Inventory.

As reported in the Good News from Government Agencies (Vol. 1, issue 14) newsletter, the Department of Energy used its royalties from the Malampaya operations to fund the acquisition. The deep water vessel will be used to upgrade the defense posture of the Philippines as part of the AFP’s modernization program. Capable of staying at sea thirty days at a stretch without refueling, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar is equipped to respond to natural disasters and can be commissioned to undertake rescue operations in case of accidents in the exploration areas.

The vessel is named after the youngest Filipino general during the Philippine Revolution who famously gave up his life in the Battle of Tirad Pass, protecting the retreating party of President Emilio Aguinaldo.

_____________

Official Gazette of The Republic of the Philippines


Comments

More Philippine Defense News

DND wants frigate with 'surface-to-air' missile power

MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the p…

No reduction in AFP manpower size

THERE will be no reduction in the number of soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when it implements the streamlining of commands by 2013, a senior officer told the Manila Standard in an exclusive interview.
“Under the Force Structure Review, there will be streamlining of units but this does not mean reduction in terms of the number of soldiers. In fact, the FSR calls for more recruits in the future,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.
At present, the military has a total of 125,000 soldiers, of which almost 85,000 are in the Army and the rest in the Navy-Marines and Air Force.
The FSR calls for an in-depth study of the AFP history in reference to pertinent laws of the land in conjunction with the challenges of internal and external defense.
The study also calls for the establishment of a strategic command that will focus on external defense where the main force would be the Air Force and Navy.
On instructions of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former military ch…

Philippine Armored Vehicles with ad-hoc wood slat armor

While searching for Philippine armored vehicles for the updates being done for both the blog and the Facebook page I chanced upon images of Philippine Army and Marine armor assets covered with thick wood planks as slat armor for protection from rocket propelled grenades. This caught the eyes of Popular Mechanics who published an article last June 8th just for this subject.


According to the article,
Wood armor on armored vehicles won't save them from ISIS rockets. Not sure, I'll leave that to the actual reports from the Philippine Military in using wood as an ad hoc protection for rpg's, but yes this is only during emergencies. The Philippine Army and Philippine Marines should employ or use the real add-on armors currently in the market for armored vehicle protection. Or they could just simply buy new thicker-armored vehicles to be used for front-line operations and have the old vehicles to be used in secondary missions or as support vehicles.



Nonetheless the fast-thinkin…