Philippines to Acquire Decom 378(s)?

A report the Philippines would like to acquire one of the Hamilton Class; that they are in talks now; and that the ship “might arrive in the country within the first semester of this year.”

Sounds like the Philippine Navy is one of the few out there with a fleet older than the Coast Guard’s.

The Philippines has ongoing struggles with at least two insurgent groups, one Maoist, one Islamic radical, and is perhaps militarily the weakest of several countries, including the Peoples’ Republic of China, with competing claims to the Spratly Islands. A 378 will be a major increase in their capabilities. There is some indication they may want more than one.

68 thoughts on “Philippines to Acquire Decom 378(s)?

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  2. Can the Philippine Navy afford the 378’s. Do they have the people, facilities and infrastructure for the 378’s

    • It would not be first time they got old Coast Guard Cutters. After the South Vietnamese government collapsed in 1975, six former Coast Guard 311 ft WHECs (Castle Rock, Cook Inlet, McCulloch, Bering Stait, Yakutat, and Chincoteague–all Barnegat class former Navy small seaplane and torpedo boat tenders) that had been turned over to South Vietnam brought refugees to the Philippines. They were inducted into the Philippine Navy two were cannibalized for parts, but four served until 1985.

      Can’t speak for the Philippine Navy, but as a country, they have plenty of mariners, employed all over the world. Reportedly the Philippine Navy has about 24,000 members. They also have whatever is left of the US Navy’s former base at Subic Bay.

  3. So if the Philippine Navy is interested in buying our 378’s, can we offer them the 210’s and 270s when the Future OPC comes on line. I think the Philippine Navy would make a perfect fit for the 378’s, 210’s and 270’s. Would you think a 378 WHEC be the equivalent of a light frigate and what Frigate weapons would the Philippine Navy need for the 378.

    • Nicky, without any additions, the 378s would have the most sophisticated weapons of any ship in the Philippine Navy. Three of their gunboats have Oto Melara 76 mm, but they have less capable fire control systems. The only other guns, larger than 40 mm, are 3″/50s like we used to have on the 210s. Presumably they are all local control only.

      There is nothing else like the Phalanx in the Philippine Navy.

      378s also have something that seems to be in short supply, a helo deck. That could be useful in the counter insurgency role.

      The Wikipedia entry on the Philippine Navy,,
      in the “Navy Future Acquisitions” section says they intend to acquire four ASW corvettes. The footnote indicates this dates from an article published in September 2010, before the 378 deal was announced, so they may hope to get an ASW capability by modifying the 378s. It should be relatively easy to add back a hull mounted sonar and ASW torpedo tubes. Adding a towed array may be possible, but I can’t see them being very effective, unless they do all that, and also team them with ASW helicopters, a type the PN does not have now.

      The Philippine Navy still has 10 patrol ships over 900 tons, that were built in WWII, a Cannon class DE, two Auk class AMs (like the old USCGC Tanager), and six Admirable class PCEs. All over 65 years old. I have no idea if they are still operational. 378s will presumably replace some or all of these, maybe not on a one for one basis. The 210s are going to be terribly old when they are finally retired, but they might be happy to get them since they are 20 years younger. I imagine the Philippine Navy would be very happy to get the 270s, because they are newer, still have a simple power plant, have a relatively good weapon, and a large flight deck.

      • Chuck,
        Do you think that the 378’s can be classified as a light frigate or a full frigate if the Philippine Navy decides to add Frigate weapons and system. What about the 210’s and 270’s would they call them as OPC or class them as a Corvette. You think the US Coast Guard should start making a deal with them on the 378’s and even offer them the 210’s and 270’s when the future OPC comes on line.

      • I expect that the Philippine Navy will call the 378s frigates, which is what they call their WWII DE. If they ever get 210s or 270s I would expect they will call them corvettes. That is the designation they use for the AMs and PCEs.

        It’s way to early to decide if they will want the 210s or 270s. We still expect to use them another 10 years at least.

      • Sir, the Cutter won’t be the ASW corvetter you were saying. The corvettes I believe will be the escorts of a Makassar class to be bought in 2012. The Cutters, however, are to be OPVs that will patrol our country’s Malampaya.

        The Cutter I believe will be a frigate as it will replace the only frigate we have, ex USS Atherton.

        As for all our weapons being manually controlled, I believe there have been upgrades that changed that otherwise.

  4. as a filipino we are very glad to have naval vessel from our former comrade in arms … since our government can do nothing to buy new naval ships to protect our territorial sea.

  5. I think its better to purchase smaller, heavier armed patrol ships. Easy to maintain than old, large warships. Imagine just a hit from a missile like an Exocet could really cause considerable damage. A smaller warship armed with missiles and CIWS it could attack and defend itself.

    • BoBeth, The Pilippine Navy does have some the three Peacock class ships, which if CIWS and missiles were added, if they could handle the extra weight, would look like the ships you suggest, but they don’t have either.

      Right now the 378s would be the most capable ships in the Philipine Navy, they would be both the most capable of defending themselves and the most likely to survive a hit. A 378 is likely to survive one cruise missile hit while the typical missile boat is more likely to quickly disappear after a single hit.

      Perhaps more important from the Philippine Navy perspective is these ships handle heavy weather much better than the patrol ships they have now.

      Its also likely the price of these ships will be far less than a new ship, even if much smaller.

      Maybe they ought to look at the ships built for Trinidad and Tabago:

  6. Not exactly on topic, but the relationship between Filipinos and the Coast Guard is long standing.

    “Filipinos are closely circumscribed in their relation with the U. S. Navy (actually, they are permitted to serve only as mess men). However, President Roosevelt recently signed a law permitting Filipinos to enlist and be commissioned in the Coast Guard Reserve. As a result the patrol boat Bataan, which recently joined the United States Coast Guard, will have an all-Filipino crew. This vessel, formerly the yacht Limbas, owned by Commissioner Elizalde, was over- hauled and equipped for combat duty by the Philippine Government in Washington, and presented by it to the United States.”

    “A few Filipino residents of the U. S. A. have seen naval action on the Pacific battlefront. Most Filipinos are unhappy, however, about the Navy’s attitude. They claim that they expected to be trained for action; instead, they find themselves assigned to noncombatant jobs, usually menial. Rectification of this situation, which is based on Navy policy rather than on any fact of law, is now being sought by the Resident Commissioner.”

    Bienvenido N. Santos, “Filipinos in War,” Far Eastern Survey, Vol. 11, No. 24 (November 1942), pp. 249-250.

    In 1942, Admiral Russell R. Waesche administered the oath commissioning four former army office s of the Phillippine Commonwealth into the Coast Guard Reserve. They were, LCDR Carmelo Lopez Manzano; Lt. Benjamin Ayesa; Ltjg. Juan B. Lacson and Ensign Conrado Aguado. All completed the Navy’s Submarine Submarine Chaser School. All were already experience seamen. LCDR Manzano held all-oceans, all-tonnage licenses; Ltjg. Lacson held a master’s ticket since 1930 and had been in the Phillippine Coast Guard in 1940 and 1941. Ensign Aguado was a licensed chief mate with ten years of experience and had been in the army’s off-shore patrol.

    I have never seen an article on the Coast Guard’s Filipino officers of WWII. Perhaps with this latest association, an article acknowledging this past association should be done. After all, these were the first Filipino commissioned officers in the Coast Guard.

  7. Maybe with the 378’s the Philippine Navy can either get the Harpoon missiles or go to France, China’s C-802 missiles or buy the Exocet missiles. That could be added to their frigate weapons systems

  8. I am glad these ships will get a second life. I hope they take care of them and use them wisely. They are beautiful ships with a great history. Looking at Jane’s they will be a nice upgrade. I would rather surf in that part of the world on a 378 vs a small patrol vessel.

  9. USCGC CHASE is scheduled for decommissioning this coming March 28, 2011. Another breakthrough also is that USCGC Hamilton has been slated to be decommissioned this March 2011 according to an FB of a NAM Vet account which has been entered in November 2010 but it seems the CUTTER CHASE will be the first one to be taken out. Any insights of new dates of the rest Hamilton, Jarvis and Rush?

    Good luck to the Philippine Navy. This would be a “Hot Transfer” in case the PN will get the ship immediately.

    • Update: PN Sailor in Alameda,California for Training. USCGC Boutwell (WHEC-19) will be used for immersion. USCGC Hamilton is bound for Philippines already.

      Good Luck Philippine Navy!

    • Greetings from Manila, Philippines!

      Unfortunately, the Chase is headed for Nigeria. I hope and pray that we will be able to secure the Hamilton plus the fact that we could more soon-to-be retired WHECs.

    • All WHEC (Hamilton class) vessels are so outfitted. The transfer of specific systems currently outfitted would be covered in offer to transfer and request for transfer of military equipment in the Foriegn Military Sales or Excess Defense Articles programs.

  10. USCGC HAMILTON (WHEC 715) is scheduled to be decommissioned and placed in commission, special pending further developments on 28 March 2011.
    USCGC CHASE will follow on 29 March 2011.

  11. thanks for this info,,does FMS also covers the upgrade of this current weapon systems, such as upgrading the Phalanx 20 mm to version Block 1B ? just want to know about this things 🙂

  12. I recently scanned a very hopeful pamphlet produced by the Coast Guard in 1967. It gives the hopes, desires and aspirations for a greater 378 fleet by pumping up Hamilton.

    Click to access Hamilton_715.pdf

    Enjoy the walk through the past. It may be time to do this again. Maybe the Philippines will name one of them after LCDR Manzano.

    • I still have the 1964 USNI Naval Review that included a story by Cdr. Carson and LCdr Tighe about the development of the new generation of Coast Guard Cutters. Some 82s had been finished. The 210s were represented by a photo of Reliance being launched and inboard and outboard profiles, “Their light gun armament can be augmented by hedge hog, torpedo,tubes and other weapons as necessary…thirty ships are planned.”

      The 378 was discussed but represented only by an artist’s concept.

      Gas Turbines on the 210s as well as the 378s were relatively new innovations as was the addition of helo decks.

      “In planning a ship replacement program, the Coast Guard uses the following normal service life figures…High Endurance vessels, 25 years, Icebreakers, 35 years, Steel patrol vessels, 20 years”

      Your pamphlet and this article were “strategic communications” that helped to sell the program. I’m not seeing that now.

  13. I have heard that we will be purchasing a good number of these hamilton class ships.. When will be our next purchase of these kind of ships? next year, 2years from now? When?

      • The US gov’t got rid of the CIWS for the Hamilton class, as what they usually do. They sell their equipments at a cheap price but take away the good stuff. Although they sold it at a bargain price, its not really fair because they’re pretty much second hand vintage 1965 ships they should sell these stuff to the Philippines with it. This is the US deals with the Philippines, they treat us like crap. The Philippines is currently getting a bargain deal from South Korea called Pohan class ships, they would probably get three of them. It is fully equipped with an 2 OTO melara, 2 pair of boffors cannon, Harpoon missiles and torpedoes. Now that is what you call a good deal. Philippines is also going to get T-50 golden eagle jets from South Korea with all it’s armaments. Unlike what US proposes to the Philippines with its F-16 deal without missiles. It seems to have better deals with Koreans rather than Americans.

  14. The transfer of the former USCGC Hamilton, now Gregorio del Pilar, has apparently caused a lot of interest in the Philippines. I ran across a web site devoted to Philippine defense issues and they have gone so far as to generate an index to the various threads that have been generated that relate to the ship and expected future transfers.

  15. Apparently prior to going on patrol, the former USCGC Hamilton was given an interim weapons increase, replacing to some extent the weapons that had been removed. A Mk 38, 25 mm chain gun (not the stabilized mount) was fitted where the Phalanx had been and WWII vintage Oerlikon 20 mm guns were mounted where the 25 mm Mk 38s (and the torpedo tubes before them) had been.

  16. If this actually went to blows I would not want to be on that ship No real defense or offense just a sitting duck to a modern warship. The best bet for them is the US working behind the scenes.

    • While were at it, lets sell the rest of the 378’s to the Philippine’s and sell off the remaining FFG-7’s to the Philippine as well. The money we get from the sale, we can use it to fund for more National Security Cutters and true Frigate for the US Navy as well.

      • Nicky, I hear what you are saying but how much money do you they have to buy these ships. Typically they get these ships for very little money. Selling these ships is like selling something that is old and worn out sometimes you hope to just get enough to make at least a few payments.

      • I know Patrick, This country is flat broke and with Gas about to hit $4.00 to even $5.00 a gallon by 4th of July weekend. We might as well start selling off our old equipment to finance the NSC and even the OPC. I’ll bet you the Philippine’s might be interested in our 210’s and 270’s once the OPC comes online. We can make more money from the sale of 210’s and 270’s to finance the OPC.

      • Thomas, I have just a few years of sea time. My point here is how often does a Coast Guard Cutter face, ship to ship combat. In addition it is my understand some of the weapon systems were removed from the Hamilton. The USCGC Hamilton is not a modern warship anymore especially if we factor its weapons systems being so old and in this case not all available.

        Most modern fighting ships today have missiles to fight ship to ship. Beyond that how much Coast Guard ship to ship combat experience do you have? I am willing to bet zero just like me.

  17. The Philippines hopes to get a total of three WHECs but also hope to get frigates from either Italy or Spain.

    There are real limits on how fast they can grow.

    • Well with cash, they can get anything from the US, Italy or Spain. I even hear the Philippine’s are talking about getting even Submarines and a LPD.

      • The Europeans are scaling back their forces just like the US, so they have surplus warships with life left in them as well.

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