MANILA With its commissioning expected by January or early February 2013 at the most, Navy flag-in-officer-charge Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said additional weapons and other equipment are now being installed at the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) now refitting in South Carolina.
Pama declined to identify what additional weapons systems were installed on the ship.
But he said these will make the vessel more capable in carrying out its mandate.
"We spent an additional USD5 million (to install these new equipment) in top of the original USD10 million cost of BRP Ramon Alcaraz," he added.
Observers also hoped the acquisition of these old and yet still serviceable ships would continue until the PN is capable of holding its own against other navies in the region.
The ex-USS Dallas (now the PN's BRP Ramon Alcaraz) was a high endurance cutter commissioned in 1967 at the Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans.
It was the sixth ship or boat to bear the name of Alexander J. Dallas, the Secretary of the Treasury under President James Madison (18141816).
The ship is one of twelve Hamilton-class cutters built for the US Coast Guard.
It weighs 3,250 tons, has a length of 378 feet, beam of 43 feet, and draft of 15 feet.
Its propulsion systems consist of two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines, giving it a top speed of 29 knots.
The ship has cruising range of 14,000 miles and has a sea and loiter time of 45 days.
It has a complement of 167 officers and men.
The ship was originally equipped with an AN/SPS-40 air-search radar Mark 92 Fire Control System and armed with one Oto Melara Mark-75 76mm gun, two Mark K-38 25mm machine gun system, two Mark 36 SRBOC systems, one Phalanx CIWS missile defense gun, along with multiple mounted M2HB .50 caliber machine guns and M240 7.62mm machine guns.
Under PN service, all of the above-mentioned weapons and sensor systems were removed with the exception of the Oto Melara Mark-75 76mm main gun.(PNA)