MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) on Wednesday confirmed that the US Navy has transferred two newly decommissioned Cyclone class patrol craft to its service following the decommissioning of two vessels in Bahrain last March 28.
The Cyclone-class patrol ships are the former USS Monsoon (PC-4) and USS Chinook (PC-9) that were transferred to the PN through the Excess Defense Article (EDA) programme, Navy spokesperson Capt. Benjo Negranza said in a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
According to the PNA report, these two former US patrol vessels were stationed at Manama, Bahrain at the time of their decommissioning.
“Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Admiral Renato David, who headed the PN delegation attending the decommissioning ceremony in Bahrain, has expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the transfer of the two combat-proven vessels to the Philippine Fleet inventory through the EDA programme,” Negranza said.
He added the PN leadership is grateful for the transfer of the two vessels which will definitely boost the Navy’s capability in fulfilling its mandate of protecting the state and its people.
“These 55-meter vessels will be able to complement the PN’s patrol gunboats in their campaign to ensure the safety and security within the littoral waters of the porous borders and vast maritime environment of the Philippines, being equipped with the firepower and lethality for littoral operations,” Negranza said.
Negranza said the two ships are expected to be delivered to the country by the second quarter of this year.
He added the vessels will undergo reactivation activities to incorporate all the desired capabilities and peculiarities of the PN to the platforms prior to their deployment to operational areas.
The PN earlier expressed interest in acquiring these ships to beef up its fleet in 2021.
Negranza said the two ex-Cyclone patrol craft will augment the BRP General Mariano Alvarez (PS-38), the former USS Cyclone (PC-1), which was transferred to the PN in 2004.
BRP General Mariano Alvarez played significant roles during the counter-insurgency operations in Southern Mindanao.
These Cyclone-class patrol craft are projected to undertake coastal patrols along the country’s littoral waters and sea lanes of communications, maritime interdiction, escort, surveillance and special operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions.
The Cyclone-class patrol ships are a class of US Navy coastal patrol boats consisting of some 14 ships and were constructed from 1992 to 1994.
These vessels weigh around 328.5 long tons and have a length of 179 feet, a beam of 25 feet, and a draft of 7.5 feet. Their maximum speed is placed at 35 knots and they have a range of between 2,000 to 2,500 nautical miles.
Cyclone-class patrol vessels are armed with two 25mm auto-cannons and several high-powered machine guns. —pna/adj/mhi (Pix: Philippine Navy)