August 14, 2016:
The Philippines recently took possession of its third refurbished American Hamilton class Coast Guard cutter. Like the other two, these were reclassified as frigates. The Filipino the crew went to the United States for training and to carry out three months of additional training on the new Filipino frigate and getting used to their new ship before taking it back to the Philippines in October.
The first of these 3,200 ton, ocean going American patrol ships arrived in 2011 and became the flagship of the Philippine Navy, replacing a World War II era destroyer escort. The second Hamilton arrived in 2012. Built in the late 1960s, the Hamiltons had been well maintained but worked hard since they entered service in the 1960s and 70s. In Filipino service the Hamiltons are armed with a 76mm gun and two Mk30 chaff/decoy systems for protection against anti-ship missiles. There is also a hanger and flight deck for an AW109 helicopter. There are also two high-speed RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boats) for boarding parties. The ship has a top speed of 54 kilometers an hour, endurance of 45 days, and a crew of 167. The Philippines is paying $15 million for each ship, but this will mostly cover the cost of some refurbishment and upgrades that will be done in the United States before the ship is delivered.