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South Korean firm wins contract for Philippine Navy’s PH Frigate Upgrade Project


A South Korean defense manufacturer has won the contract for the Philippine Navy’s Del Pilar Class Frigate Upgrade Project to beef up the ship’s electronic capabilities and patrolling operations, the Department of National Defense said on Friday, August 16, 2019.


South Korean firm win contract for Philippine Navys PH Frigate Upgrade Project 925 001 BRP Gregorio Del Pilar Class Frigate (Picture source: Philippine Navy)


The project has an approved budget of PHP1.5 billion which will be sourced from the Armed Forces of the Philippine Modernization Trust Fund. The upgrade seeks to enhance the ships' combat management systems, electronic support and sonar capability to make it capable of operating with incoming and more modern naval assets like the two Jose Rizal-class missile frigates being completed by Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea.

The Del Pilar-class ships are three former US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutters and converted into frigates and then offshore patrol vessels. These vessels are the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PS-15), BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) and the BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17).

These ships have a gross tonnage of 3,250 tons, a length of 378 feet, a beam of 43 feet, and a draft of 15 feet while its propulsion systems consist of two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines, giving it a top speed of 29 knots. These vessels have a cruising range of 14,000 miles and have a sea and loiter time of 45 days and armed with a 76mm Oto Melara automatic cannon, 25mm and 20mm light cannons and .50 calibre machineguns.

The ship was armed with an Mk.75 Oto Melara 76 mm Compact main gun, two Mk.38 M242 Bushmaster 25 mm chain gun at midships, and a Phalanx CIWS system aft. The CIWS and chain guns were removed by the US Coast Guard prior to its turn-over to the Philippine Navy. Only the Mk.75 gun remains. Plans to install additional weapons were made, which includes one Mk. 38 Mod 1 25 mm chain gun aft, two Mk.16 20 mm autocannons midships, and six 12.7 mm machine guns. These were installed during its scheduled dock works before the commissioning ceremonies.