Saturday, May 4, 2013

Where are you BRP Ramon Alcaraz?


The BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) was handed over by the US Coast Guard to the Philippine Navy on May 2012, or almost a year ago. DND says our men need more time to train and to install modern radar. Its quite amusing but MaxDefense think its not the case. Its sistership BRP Gregorio del Pilar was handed over to the PN on May 2011, but how come it was already home by August 2011 or only 3 months after hand-over, including the almost 1 month travel from California to Philippines and stop overs at Hawaii and Guam? 


The BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) docked at Charleston, North Carolina
This blog is for enlightening the public since the announcements made by the DND & PN seems to cover something. MaxDefense would only like to clarify for the truth, and not to discredit DND, the PN or the BRP Ramon Alcaraz crew members.

Whats the difference with Ramon Alcaraz and Gregorio del Pilar? The PF-16 already has an advantage since the men sent there were already previously exposed and trained and has experience in a similar ship which is the Gregorio del Pilar. Is there a need for more training? Let's concur with their other reasons, that the ship will be installed with a new modern radar system and new weapon gun mounts. 

Radar system. Not really. As of May 2013 MaxDefense sources said that the only radar installed were the basic short range surface search & navigation surveillance radar, possibly a Furuno FAR series similar to those installed on BRP Gregorio del Pilar. It's not something new and is a widely-used radar system in the PN, and the Gregorio del Pilar also underwent the same new radar installation, but still it never stayed in the US for more than 2 months. Even the fire control radar was also retained.


An example of the Rafael Mark 38 Mod. 2 Typhoon gun mount purchased by the Philippines

They said they are installing additional modern weapons. So far the US has released a document stating that the PN is set to receive two (2) new Mark 38 Mod. 2 remote capable 25mm chain gun systems, which are actually "re-branded" Rafael  Typhoon mounts from Israel. The document even states that these will be made mostly in Israel & completed in the US by May 2014 (that's 1 year from now!). So these guns may not be available yet for the ship.

The real reason for BRP Ramon Alcaraz's delay is because they've encountered major problems in the ship. 

1. One of its Fairbanks Morse diesel engine was spoiled and needs replacement. Taking it out means tearing parts of the hull as the engines are large. Doing this will take some time, not just weeks but months. Retired Vice Admiral Pama also admitted the engine replacement issue but made it seem a minor problem. 

2. Due to the old age of BRP Ramon Alcaraz (she was first commissioned on March 1968, or 45 years ago), it is expected that a lot of the ship's components and even the hull itself is reaching obsolescence. Ships usually have a 30 to 40 year lifespan, although refitting works can be made to extend it for a few more years. It might be the PN discovered the need to fix a lot of things inside the ship before it can ready to sail back home. Philippine laws require the purchase of used military hardware to have a minimum of 15 years of service life and in its current condition, the Ramon Alcaraz may need more dock work to meet that requirement. It is expected that she will only have minimal refitting and repainting works to navy grey before formal commissioning, as what BRP Greogorio del Pilar underwent from August to December 2011.

3. If the ships indeed get Mark 38 Mod. 2 gun mounts, there is a possibility that the US Navy will loan one or two units, and will be returned upon availability of the brand new items ordered recently. Thus the ship will indeed undergo refitting work to install them, and since this is a new item in the PN inventory the ship crew will undergo training to maintain & use them. Again, this is IF the US will temporarily loan the PN used gun mounts.

I'll be updating this posting should more evidence of delays surface, which I hope there's nothing more since the DND & PN recently announced that the ship will be in the Philippines by late June 2013. This means it needs to sail from Charleston to California via the Panama Canal by mid-May, and travel across the Pacific Ocean by late May or early June.

I wish the last public statement by the DND is the last regarding its arrival,and MaxDefense wishes the BRP Ramon Alcaraz good luck in its travel and Godspeed. Hoping for your safe arrival to serve your country.




36 comments:

  1. I guess that's also the reason why the PNavy decided to cancel the puchase of the two Italian maestrale class frigates.

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    Replies
    1. http://maxdefense.blogspot.sg/2013/05/why-philippine-navy-dropped-maestrale.html

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    2. Maestrale is much younger than this cutter.first maestrale comission in year 1982

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    3. Recently there were some news that BRP R. Alcaraz have been armed with harpoon surface to surface missiles . But contrary to some recent pictures it seems not. I've heard about future upgrades but this platforms should be their cornerstone and a good training ship for modern naval warfare and beside the PN has 2 . Why not make use what we have instead of discussing what we don't have.

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  2. godspeed the philippines

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  3. So it must have been due to this experience we have with puchasing old used ships the we decided to cancel the purchase of the second-hand Italian maestrale class frigates and opted to buy brand new ones instead?

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    1. http://maxdefense.blogspot.sg/2013/05/why-philippine-navy-dropped-maestrale.html

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  4. sir, do you have a Twitter account to keep us updated with your new posts?

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  5. Why not purchase hazard perry class? It's way better than Hamilton class

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    Replies
    1. This has been discussed several times in a lot of venues already. It is more because of the cost associated with it. But the PN has not yet thrown this suggestion into he garbage bin pernanently.

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  6. i don't know if the reader noticed this, US not helping Philippines to modernized military equipment but only to sell secondhand and refurbish hardware.

    our govt. must buy to south Korea,Russia, because this country helps not only for money but promotes their weapons durability and effectiveness.

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    Replies
    1. They do help. But they also believe the Philippines MUST spend for its defense and not just ask for freebies or EDAs. It just happen that American made equipment are very expensive compared to their European or Asian counterparts.

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    2. what i mean of helping sir is...help like,Israel help??they give equipment to Israel for defense purposes,if they don't trust Philippine politician because of corruption they can give defense weapons directly instead of money.

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  7. I like this forum its like Jane's fighting Ships I love this site especially in terms of the Philippine's fighting capability thanks

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  8. sorry for this question, if the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar and Alcaraz cost $450 Million Dollars each with this huge amount cant we buy any brand new ships? for the same amount?

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  9. Replies
    1. No its 450 m dollars. Kung 450m yan d sna 6 nbili ntin

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    2. Its 450 million pesos. Not from AFP Modernization fund but from Fund 151.

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    3. what is fund 151 sir?

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  10. Thanks Max, very well said. So, there is no Harpoon installed in Alcaraz? Everybody is just so exited in other blogs and forums around the net.

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  11. philstar just reported today that alcaraz has just been upgraded to a harpoon-firing frigate per unnamed sources. then again, i'd take such kind of news with a grain of salt. any firsthand info regarding this particular acquisition, max?

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  12. Replies
    1. so alcaraz dont have this harpoon

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  13. i thank the author for the bright ideas coz like you im also waiting for this ship for quiet a long time. we all know that the country is in need of this "stuffs".

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  14. any update on reports that this ship is equiped with Harpoon Missile? the last I read from GMA news website is that the ship already schedule to depart for Philippines today.

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  15. we should spend more to upgrade our weapons, brand new is better than a second hand, but it takes a lot of time to build, we need additional ships right now and the 2 maestrale would be a great help in guarding our territory while we wait for the 2 brand new frigate.

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  16. Bon Voyage - BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF16)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NSBz_A193o

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  17. maestrale...is way much better than the two 40 years old hamilton class. This purchases will only (at least) greatly improve the search and rescue and maritime patrols capability of the Philippine Navy in deep waters. But in naval warfare??? Not even an inch of improvement. In my opinion, we should at least bought the maestrale class for an immediate real and capable posture for territorial defense. Then still buy new frigates as part of its long term plans. Also, here is my additional wish list: 4 additional bnew frigates plus 10 bnew corvettes for PN. Damn..we are rank 3 in the world in terms of the longest coastal lines...and we need to protect that!

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  18. Sir, any updates about the Humabon? I read somewhere that she is in drydock for repairs/maintenance.

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  19. Harpoon missile is essential to be a modern effective warship.

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  20. SIR, YOU KNOW THAT THE MAESTRALE CLASS IS ALSO WORTH $150 MILLION EACH, FOR A USED NAVY SHIP THATS TO MUCH MONEY TO INVEST. THE NAVY TOP BRASS WAS RIGHT OF NOT BUYING THE USED MAESTRALE.ITS BETTER TO HAVE THE US CUTTER FOR $10 MILLION THEN UPGRADE FOR NEW RADAR, NEW ENGINE, AND NEW CIWS FOR ANOTHER $25 MILLION THAT INCLUDED WITH THE 2 QUAD HARPOON MISSILE AND 2 SETS OF AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM SUCH AS MANPADS, RBS 70 NG BOLLIDE. TOTAL COST FOR A CREDIBLE CUTTER WILL BE AROUND $45 -$50 MILLION. THE PHIL NAVY MIGHT ENCOUNTER A SLIGHT PROBLEM SUCH AS ELECTRICAL OR SOME MINOR STUFF. BUT TAKE NOTE AS LONG AS NEW MAIN ENGINE , NEW GAS TURBINE, NEW FIRE CONTROL STILL WORTH TO BUY THAN THE PERRY CLASS OF US NAVY WORTH $275-$400 MILLION A PIECE .

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    1. I agree most definitely . The Hamilton class at one point was equipped and tested with these offensive hardwares. This would give us a pivotal point in naval modern warfare. At the same time a good platform for training on anti submarine warfare since it was armed with torpedoes and hull sonar. Now all we need is a good surplus electric diesel submarine to compliment it . ( see Royal Singapore Navy)

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    quad parts California

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  22. the nature of our country were always to purchase the second hand battle ship and also acquiring used equipment for AFP, i don't know how to be considered a modernize, why is it that can't afford to buy the brand new one! just like this latest negotiation to the italian ma
    estriale class cutter pinag lumaan na naman ng armed forces of italy. what can we expect from the word modernization? it still old.bakit di tayo lalapit directly to the manufacturer of the said vessel and request the permission the country's concerned that we allow their technology be our part in AFP. meaning to say, modernize in a local but in part of passion of armed forces in any part of the world luma pa rin tayo!

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