Del Pilar-class offshore patrol vessel

The Del Pilar class is a class of three offshore patrol vessels currently in service of the Philippine Navy, and are currently the foremost surface combatant of the fleet. These ships were formerly used by the US Coast Guard as Hamilton class high endurance cutters.

Class overview
Name: Del Pilar class offshore patrol vessel
Builders: Avondale Shipyards, USA
Operators:  Philippine Navy
In service: 2011 to present
Active: 3
General characteristics
Class and type: Del Pilar class
Type: Offshore Patrol Vessel
Displacement: 3,250 tons
Length: 378 ft (115 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13 m)
Draft: 8.75 ft (2.67 m)
Speed: 29 knots (54 km/h)
Range: 14,000 nautical miles (25,900 km)
Endurance: 45 Days
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2 × RHIB
Complement: 80
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Saab AB AN/SPS-77 Sea Giraffe AMB 3D air/surface search radar (Awaiting Installation)
  • Kelvin Hughes MK2 25KW X-band navigational radar (on PS-15 & PS-16)
  • Kelvin Hughes Sharpeye 200W S-band solid state navigation/surface search radar (on PS-15 & PS-16)
  • Furuno FAR3220BB 25KW X-band navigational radar (on PS-17)
  • Furuno FAR3220BB 200W S-band solid state navigation/surface search radar (on PS-17)
  • Sperry Mk. 92 Mod. 1 Fire Control System[1]
  • FLIR Systems SEAFLIR 230 electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) system (Awaiting Installation)
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
2 × Mk.36 Super Rapid Blooming Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC) Chaff and Decoy Launching System[2]
Aircraft carried: 1 × AgustaWestland AW109 Power naval helicopter[7]
Aviation facilities: retractable hangar and flight deck

Originally designated as frigates (FF), the class would be re-designated as patrol ships (PS) to better reflect their limited capabilities.[8]


Early in 2011, the Philippine Navy announced the acquisition of an ex-US Coast Guard Hamilton-class high-endurance cutter under the "Ocean-going Escort Vessel" project through the US Excess Defense Article programme.[9][10] The ship acquired was the former USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715),[11] renamed BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) which was officially turned over to the Philippine Navy on 13 May 2011 at Alameda Point in California. It was retrofitted and modified in the US, replacing systems removed by the USCG. The ship's arrival ceremonies were on 23 August 2011 in Manila,[12] and it was commissioned on 14 December 2011.[13]

A second Hamilton-class cutter, the USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716), was turned over to the Philippine Navy on 22 May 2012[14] with ceremonies held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Pier Papa in North Charleston, South Carolina.[15] The ship was named BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) in Philippine Navy service. Like its sister ship, it was retrofitted and modified in the US, replacing systems removed by the USCG.[16] It was expected to arrive in the Philippines by February 2013.[17][18][19] However, further training and unspecified upgrades on the ship pushed the arrival of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz to August 2013.[20] The ship's arrival ceremony was held at Subic Harbor on August 6, 2013, led by President Aquino.[21] It was commissioned on Nov. 22, 2013.[22]

A third Hamilton-class cutter was turned over to the Philippine Navy after US President Barack Obama announced that another high endurance cutter will be transferred to the Philippines during his visit to the BRP Gregorio del Pilar on November 17, 2015.[23] The White House subsequently confirmed that the USCGC Boutwell (WHEC-719) will be the ship that will be transferred to the Philippines.[24]


The ship was designed with a high level of habitability and provides fairly comfortable accommodations, including air conditioning.[25]


The Del Pilar class are the first Philippine military vessels to employ the now common shipboard application of aircraft gas turbine jet engines with the use of controllable pitch propellers. The class are equipped with two 18,000 horsepower (13,000 kW) Pratt & Whitney[26] gas turbines and can propel the ship at speeds up to 28 knots (52 km/h). The class also has two 3,500 horsepower (2,600 kW) Fairbanks-Morse[26] diesel engines, capable of driving the ship economically at 17 knots (31 km/h) for up to 14,400 nautical miles (26,700 km) without refueling.[26] A retractable/rotatable bow propulsion unit provides manoeuvrability in tight situations.


Prior to turn-over to the Philippine Navy, the Hamilton-class cutters were armed with a 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.[26] The CIWS and chain guns were removed by the United States Coast Guard prior to turn-over, with the Mk.75 gun remaining.

The Philippine Navy installed a Mk. 38 Mod. 1 25mm chain gun and two Mk. 16 20mm Oerlikon autocannons to the PS-15, and six 50-caliber machine guns on both the PS-15 and PS-16.[4][27][28]

The Philippines ordered two new Mk. 38 Mod. 2 25mm naval gun systems in 2012, and these are expected to be installed to the ships of the class.[29] On Feb. 17, 2014, it was reported that said chain guns were in the Philippines, waiting for the U.S. Coast Guard armament team for installation.[30] As of January 25, 2015, 2 Mk. 38 Mod. 2 25mm guns had been installed on PF-16.[5]

Another set of Mk. 38 naval guns, this time in Mod.3 variant were ordered in October 2015,[31] and another contract for 2 units of Mk.38 Mod.3 25mm naval guns were ordered in September 2016.[32][33] The first set of 2 units was installed on BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PS-15) on early June 2019.[34]

Flight Support

The Del Pilar class has a flight deck and hangar capable of handling helicopters. A BO-105 light surveillance helicopter was initially assigned to BRP Gregorio del Pilar, and was replaced by the newer AgustaWestland AW109 Power helicopter.[35] The helicopters first made their shipboard deployment on May 21, 2014.


It was also reported that the Philippine Navy is planning further upgrades for the entire ship class. The upgrades will feature upgrades for navigation, propulsion, communication, surveillance, and weapons systems.[36]

Several systems were acquired through US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF), which includes the BAE Systems Mk. 38 Mod. 2 machine gun system, the SAAB AN/SPS-77 Sea Giraffe AMB 3D air/surface search radar,[37] and the FLIR Systems SeaFLIR 230 Electro-Optical/Infra-Red Camera.[38]

Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy will launch a program to acquire, install and integrate several other sensors into the ship, as part of the Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program. Among those to be acquired are new Combat Management System (CMS), Hull Mounted Sonar (HMS), and a Radar Electronic Support Measures (R-ESM).[38] In 2019, the DND, together with the Hanwha Group signed a contract for the Del Pilar-class Frigate Upgrade Project, which will install the Hanwha Systems Naval Shield Baseline 2 ICMS, the same CMS of the Jose Rizal-class frigates, along with the integration of a Hull Mounted Sonar, the Radar Electronic Support Measures, and the navigation and existing weapon systems (Oto Melara 76 mm, and Mk. 38 guns).

Ships in Class

Bow number Ship name Launched Commissioned Service Status
PS-15 BRP Gregorio del Pilar 18 December 1965 14 December 2011 Offshore Combat Force Out of service until the end of 2019[39]
PS-16 BRP Ramon Alcaraz 1 October 1966 22 November 2013 Offshore Combat Force Active
PS-17 BRP Andres Bonifacio [40] 17 June 1967 21 July 2016[41] Offshore Combat Force Active

See also


  1. Saunders, Stephen: Jane's Fighting Ships 107th Edition 2004-2005. Jane's Information Group Ltd, 2004.
  2. "Navy flagship sheds US identity; videoke onboard". 2011-09-03. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  3. "Navy ship to get new weapons systems". 2012-10-29. Retrieved 2014-06-16.
  4. Saunders, Stephen (2013). IHS Jane's Fighting Ships 2013-2014. IHS. p. 614. ISBN 978 0 7106 3048 3.
  5. "Finally, the Philippine Navy's BRP Ramon Alcaraz got its Mk.38 Mod.2 Guns". 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2015-01-26.
  6. MaxDefense Philippines PS-15 gets Mk.38 Mod.3 guns
  7. PNA with Camille Diola (June 25, 2014). "New Navy attack helicopters to join first naval maneuvers". Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  8. "Del Pilar-class frigates redesignated as patrol ships". Philippine News Agency. 2 April 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  9. "Philippine Navy eyeing purchase from US". 2011-01-24. Archived from the original on 2011-01-26. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
  10. "PHL Navy to acquire largest ship in inventory". 2011-01-23. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
  11. "Philippines builds anti-China muscle". Asia Times Online. 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  12. "US Government to turnover USGC Hamilton to Philippine Navy". Naval Public Affairs Office, Philippine Navy. 2011-05-12. Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  13. "Noy inaugurates 2 newly commissioned ships". 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  14. "AFP chief to receive 2nd US patrol ship". ABS-CBN News. 2012-05-19. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  15. "Decommissioned Coast Guard Cutter Dallas being transfered [sic] to Philippine navy". The Digitel Charleston. 2012-05-18. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  16. "Philippines to get 2nd US coast guard ship". Xinhua-ANI c/o Yahoo! News. 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  17. "Gazmin assures Navy of brand-new gear, assets showcased on Navy Day". 2012-05-22. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  18. "DND puts on hold plan to get third warship from US". 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  19. "Philippines' Second Warship to Arrive in June". April 30, 2013.
  20. Romero, Alexis (2013-03-04). "Arrival of new Phl warship delayed". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
  21. "PHL attempts to 'modernize' Navy with 46-year-old warship BRP Ramon Alcaraz | News | GMA News Online". Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  22. "Maiden voyage of PH's most capable warship". 2013-11-22. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  25. "History of USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715)". USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715) official web site. United States Coast Guard. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  26. "WHEC 378' Hamilton class". 2005-04-27. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  27. "Re: Retitled: BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PS-15) - ex USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715)". Archived from the original on 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  29. "No. 721-12 Contracts". U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). Retrieved 2012-09-09.
  30. "BRP Ramon Alcaraz fitted with 'Bushmaster' auto cannons soon". PTV News. 2014-02-17. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
  31. "Contracts for Oct. 29, 2015". U.S. Department of Defense. 2015-10-29. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  32. "Contracts for Sept. 29, 2016". U.S. Department of Defense. 2016-09-29. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  33. "Philippine Navy Expecting 4 New Mk. 38 Mod. 3 Gun Systems from 2 Contracts". MaxDefense Philippines. 2017-03-12. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  34. MaxDefense Philippines PN Installs Mk.38 Mod.3 guns on PS-15
  35. Alexis Romero (December 19, 2013). "AFP commissions 3 brand-new naval choppers". Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  36. Grevatt, Jon (2013-12-16). "Philippines plans further upgrades to ex-US Coast Guard cutters". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  37. "U.S. Green Lights FMS of AN/SPS-77 Sea Giraffe Radar for Philippines Navy Hamilton-class Cutters". Navy Recognition. 2016-12-14. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  38. Montero, Max (2018-05-23). "MaxDefense Philippines 23 May 2018". MaxDefense Philippines. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  39. Rahmat, Ridzwan (14 January 2019). "Philippine's lead Del Pilar-class frigate out of service till end 2019". Jane's 360. Singapore. Archived from the original on 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  40. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-07-28. Retrieved 2016-07-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  41. Adel, Rosette (2016-11-01). "Philippine Navy's third frigate set to sail home". / The Philippine Star. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
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