Upgrades to the Philippine WHECs

BRP Ramon Alcaraz (former USCGC Dallas) equipped with new Sea Giraffe multi-mode radar in Cebu.

NavyRecognition reports, “China Coast Guard try to intercept Philippine Navy’s BRP Andres Bonifacio.” We talked about this incident earlier, but this report also includes information about the upgrades to the former US Coast Guard cutter. We did talk about upgrades earlier, but this has more specifics, particularly in regard to the sonar. All three of the Philippines’ former cutters are being upgraded.

The OPV is equipped with various sensors and processing systems, including the Naval Shield Baseline 2 Integrated Combat Management System, a Saab AB AN/SPS-77 Sea Giraffe AMB 3D air/surface search radar, a Furuno FAR3220BB 25KW X-band navigational radar, a Sperry Mk 92 Mod 1 Fire Control System, and an ELAC Hunter 2.0 hull-mounted sonar.

BRP Andres Bonifacio is armed with a Mk 75 Oto Melara 76mm Compact gun, two Mk 38 25mm autocannons, six M2HB Browning .50 caliber guns, and two USN-Mark 36 SRBOC (Super Rapid Blooming Offboard Countermeasures) mortar-type launching systems.

The combat management system, AN/SPS-77, sonar, and 25mm Mk38 Mod2/3s are all upgrades since the hand-over. I also found some additional information, that also mentioned Radar Electronic Support Measure (R-ESM), a new Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), and the SeaFLIR 230 electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) system.

The AN/SPS-77 is also used on Independence class LCS and will equip the US Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter.

The sonar is by a German company and offers mine avoidance and torpedo detection as well as passive and active submarine and UUV detection capabilities. We don’t know which of the various sized transducers associated with this system was chosen. Transducers of 4 kHz to 30 kHz are available that span the range from low frequency long range systems to relatively short ranged high frequency systems. A medium frequency seems most likely.

Some of these upgrades, particularly the multimode radar, support helicopter operations. The Philippine Navy currently has two AW159 Wildcat helicopters with significant ASW and anti-surface capability. So far these are the only Philippine aircraft with an ASW capability and they may be based on other Philippine Navy warships.

The upgrades were done in South Korea. The Philippine military seems to have developed a relationship with South Korea. The Philippine Navy has purchased two 2600 ton light frigates from S. Korea and has contracts out for two 3200 ton corvettes and six 2400 ton 94.4 meter Offshore Patrol Vessels.

The three Philippine ships are probably now the best equipped of the 12 former US Coast Guard 378s currently serving in five different navies and coast guards, but there are still some desirable possible additions, including anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM), close in weapon systems (CIWS), light weight ASW torpedoes, and towed array sonars.


4 thoughts on “Upgrades to the Philippine WHECs

    • The National Security Cutter does have a small sonar. It is not an ASW system, and I would love to know more about what it is used for.

      The mine detection capability may be limited to old fashioned moored mines which float a few feet below the surface. Recognizing bottomed mines is much more difficult.

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