MANILA Philippine Navy flag officer-in-charge Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said on Sunday that "BRP Ramon Alcaraz" (PF-16), the country's most capable warship to date, will be in service by the first quarter of 2013.
He said that the slight delay on the ship's commissioning can be attributed to the extended training of its prospective crew and officers and installation of new engines and weaponry.
"There is no problem really. We are just using the additional time to give extra training to the crew and install more equipment on her like a new main engine which will give more speed and endurance," Pama said.
The ship is at present undergoing refitting work at North Charleston Navy Yard in South Carolina.
Pama declined to state where the "BRP Ramon Alcaraz" will be deployed once it is commissioned in the PN service.
The former USS Dallas (now the PN's BRP Ramon Alcaraz) was a high endurance cutter commissioned in 1967 at the Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans.
She was the sixth ship or boat to bear the name of Alexander J. Dallas, the United States Secretary of the Treasury under President James Madison (18141816).
The ship is one of 12 Hamilton-class cutters built for the U.S. 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 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)