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Philippines to accept delivery of new frigate

The Philippines is due to accept delivery of a new frigate while reports said 10 new patrol ships from Japan will soon be acquired by the navy

Gulf News

Manila: The Philippines is due to accept delivery of a new frigate while reports said 10 new patrol ships from Japan will soon be acquired by the navy.


The ABS-CBN News, in a report from Washington, said Philippine armed forces chief, Gen. Jose Dellosa is due to accept on Tuesday the delivery of the US Coast Guard Cutter USS Dallas in South Carolina.


The impending addition of the Dallas, which will soon be renamed the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, will bring to two the number of frigates in the Philippine fleet. Earlier in December President Benigno Aquino III formally inaugurated to the navy the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a 115 metre-long, 3,250 metric ton ship.


The BRP Ramon Alcaraz are expected to join the Philippine fleet in several months, possibly before November 2012.


The BRP Ramon Alcaraz and the BRP Gregorio del Pilar are both of the Hamilton class and are similarly equipped with 76 mm cannons, rapid fire 25mm guns and a helicopter deck.


While de BRP Gregorio del Pilar had been posted to guard the Philippines' Western Philippine Sea area, it remains unclear where the soon to be named BRP Alcaraz will be posted.


The two ships, each costing $13.8 million, had been acquired by the Philippines under the US Excess Defence Articles Act.


Aside from the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the Philippines is reported to be in negotiations for the purchase of a Soldati class frigate from Italy.


The Philippines had been trying to bolster its maritime capability after its modernisation plans had been side tracked two decades ago by rampant corruption.


Aside from yet to be formalised acquisition of a third frigate to join its fleet, the Philippines is also reported to be planning to purchase 10 brand new patrol ships from Japan.


Earlier Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the addition of the new ships will further improve the country's capability to secure its territory.


An archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines has one the most expansive coastal areas.


According to Vice Admiral Edmund Tan, the soon to be acquired vessels will be used by the Philippine Coast Guard.


Naval vessels of Philippines are currently had engaged in a standoff with China over the Scarborough Shoal, a largely submerged territory located some 120 nautical miles off the nearest Philippine coast in Zambales.


Facing the lone Philippine surface combatant vessel in the Scarborough Shoal are at least three bigger ships of the Chinese South China Fishery Administration Bureau.