August 23, 2011 marks another milestone for the Philippine Navy as the newest and biggest ship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF15) officially docked in Manila with no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III as Guest of Honor and Speaker during the arrival ceremony.
As the former lead ship of the US Coast Guard, USCGC Hamilton (WHEC 715) is 1 of 12 Weather High Endurance Cutter commissioned in the 1960s. These ships were largely used by the US Coast Guard for drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, marine resources protection, and defense readiness. Under the Philippine Navy, the ship is classified as a Surface Combatant Ship with a type code “P” for Patrol and is further classified as a Frigate with a type code of “F”, hence the designation “PF.”
PF15 is the first Philippine military vessel to employ the now-common aircraft gas-turbine jet engines with the use of controllable pitch propellers. With her two 18,000 horsepower (13,000 kW) Pratt & Whitney gas turbines, she can travel at speeds up to 28 knots (52 km/h). She also has two 3,500 horsepower (2,600 kW) Fairbanks-Morse 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. A retractable/rotatable bow propulsion unit provides maneuverability in tight situations and has a flight deck and hangar capable of handling helicopters.
Under the command of Capt. Alberto A. Cruz and 18 officers and 144 enlisted men, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, named in honor the Philippine Revolution general who was the young hero of the Battle of Tirad Pass during the Philippine-American War where he lost his life, sailed from her original home port in California to Manila in about 4 weeks, passing by Hawaii and Guam for refuel and resupply.
Acquired under the FMS Program with funds coming from the Malampaya Project in Palawan, the Php450 million ship will immediately be dry-docked and undergo repainting, after which she will be deployed to secure oil platform and exploration activities in the Western and Southern Philippines.
VRs taken on August 23, 2011 at Pier 13 of the Manila South Harbor. Portions of texts from Wikipedia.org. The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org