Before we even begin with this blog. My answer here is a simple NO.
But let’s start with a brief background of the Oliver Hazard Perry or OHP class frigate.
The OHP ships entered service as ASW frigates for the US Navy. They were ORIGINALLY equipped with an Mk13 missile launcher for the SM-1 and RGM-184 Harpoon missiles, an Oto melara 76mm Compact cannon, a Phalanx CIWS, and Mk32 launchers for Mk45 or Mk50 torpedoes. In addition, they had a hangar for two Seasprite or SH-60 Seahawk helicopters. The ships are equipped with a sensor suite consisting of an SPS-49 2D air search radar and a Mk92 fire control system, the sonar suite consists of the SQS-56 and the SQS-19 towed array.
An old picture of USS Oliver Hazard Perry with her Mk13 missile launcher for firing the SM-1 and RGM-184 Harpoon. The Mk13 launcher that made the Perry an FFG in the first place was however removed a few years back.
That’s how they were originally armed and equipped back in the day anyway. Here’s the thing, the only thing that made them an FFG in the day was REMOVED by the USN in 2003. The USN removed the Mk13 launchers from the Perry’s back in 2003 with the retirement of the SM-1 missile in USN service. Yes, these ships have no mesayls.
The Mk13 missile launcher. The one thing that made the OHP ships a guided missile frigate in USN service was removed in 2003.
So in retrospect, if we ever got an OHP it’d end up as an unstripped Hamilton.
But we should still get them, keep them in FFBNW config. like the Hams?
No. The sole reason is simple. Like all ships of the USN, the OHP is a gas guzzler, using two LM2500-30 gas turbines in COGAG configuration. In COGAG the gas turbine is used even at economic cruise speeds. The Perry’s are equipped with COGAG because there is no way in hell a ship weighing 4100 tons, carrying 40 missiles, a 76mm gun, torpedoes, a powerful (back then anyway) sensor suite and two ASW helicopters can dash 29 and above knots on a diesel engine. To give you a figure on how the COGAG configuration of the OHP compares to the CODOG configuration of the del Pilar, the total annual cost to keep a single Perry’s COGAG running is more than twice and nearly thrice what it costs to keep a del Pilar’s CODOG running.
The maintenance hungry, gas guzzling LM2500-30 engine employed in COGAG configuration on the Perry class frigates
Let’s face it, our budget-conscious Navy will never be able to maintain a Perry class frigate.
That’s the primary reason anyway why most disagree with getting a Perry for the PN. Why are we going to buy a gas guzzler that doesn’t even carry missiles?
Another thing, if any of you guys noted, the OHP’s 76mm gun is in the most oddball position imaginable, for one reason or another, the Perry’s 76mm gun is mounted amidships. Meaning that to fire off a shot from the 76mm, the ship has to manouevre rather awkwardly and expose its side to get a shot off like in that scene from the movie “The Hunt for Red October”.Sort of like an old WW1 era German Navy Moltke class battlecruiser. Or the majority of battleships and battlecruisers built during that era anyway. But let’s not stick to this issue, I believe it isn’t much of a problem anyway.
The real problem with the Perry class is not the ship itself. The real problem is the Philippine navy’s maintenance culture and shoestring budget. The shoestring budget is definitely not enough to keep operating a gas guzzler like a Perry. Another thing is our maintenance, we don’t exactly have the best history in terms of our maintenance culture, and our overly bureaucratic procurement process would delay any acquisition of parts to keep a Perry in the sea. At best, they’d see limited action in patrols. At worst, pier queens.
Overall, even if Uncle Sam would be willing to give us a Perry, which they have never done, mind you, all Perrys that were transferred to other navies were paid for. The latest is Taiwan paying 80 million dollars for a Perry class ship. At only 40 million dollars higher than that price, we could also get the missile-armed Maestrale from the scrapped Italian deal (which I will try to discuss in a future blog). So if you ask me, the Perry class frigate is NOT ideal for the PN.
Let the dreams of Perry class frigates for the PN rest people. These ships are simply not ideal for the Philippine Navy.