- Crew onboard the Philippines' third Del Pilar frigate has begun flight deck operations training in California
- Vessel is on track to arrive in the Philippines by November 2016
The Philippine Navy (PN) has begun flight deck operations training from onboard its third Del Pilar (Hamilton and Hero)-class frigate in Alameda, California, with assistance from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) ahead of its journey home in the later part of the year.
The vessel, which has been named BRP Andres Bonifacio and given the pennant number 17, was formally received and recommissioned by the PN on 21 July 2016.
The vessel was previously the Hamilton-class high endurance cutter, USCGC Boutwell (719). The ship was retired from USCG service in March 2016 after 48 years of service and subsequently transferred to the PN under the US' Foreign Military Sale Programme through its Foreign Assistance Act.
According to IHS Jane's Fighting Ships , the 3,300-tonne platform features an overall length of 115.2 m, an overall beam of 13.1 m and a hull draught of 6.1 m. It can accommodate a crew complement of 162, including 19 officers, and one helicopter on its flight deck.
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney FT4A-6 gas turbine and two Fairbanks-Morse 38TD8-1/8-12 diesel engines in a combined diesel or gas (CODOG) configuration, the ship has a top speed of 29 kt and a standard range of 9,600 n miles at 15 kt.
Andres Bonifacio is scheduled to depart from Alameda in October 2016, and arrive in the Philippines in November 2016. The ship will join two other Del Pilar-class frigates in service with the PN. These are namely BRP Gregorio del Pilar (15) which was also transferred from the USCG in May 2011, and BRP Ramon A Alcaraz (16), which was transferred in May 2012.
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