“Walang mesayl, sera yan sa China”; “Useless pag walang mesayl”; everyone is looking for missiles on the Hamilton-class cutters. Naval assets seem to be useless to these fanbois if they don’t have missiles. They’re pissed at Uncle Sam for selling us missile-less Hamilton-class cutter, yet they don’t understand the extent to which these ships have helped the PN.
So what do these missile-less ships do for us? A lot.
First off, they give the PN very-long-range patrol capability.
A USCG Hamilton on patrol
The Hamilton-class ships have a range of 14,000 nautical miles and an endurance of 45 days. Giving them the range to patrol our entire EEZ for 45 days at a time.
This long-range patrol capability gives the PN the capability to patrol and show the flag in our EEZ, in something that isn’t a World War II vessel.
Second, they train the PN on gas turbines and CODOG propulsion configuration.
A diagram of a CODOG configuration
The Hamilton-class cutters run on a CODOG or Combined Diesel Or Gas configuration. In CODOG, the diesel engine is run during slow cruise speeds, whereas the gas turbine is used to reach maximum dash speed.
The PN has never operated a ship with a CODOG configuration, or a gas turbine before the Hamilton-class ships. With the arrival of the Hamilton-class cutters, the PN now has more exposure and training on operating CODOG configurations and gas turbines.
Third, they allow us to slowly retire our old World War II ships one by one.
BRP Rajah Humabon is a World War II era Canon class destroyer escort, with the Hamiltons entering service, the Humabon and her other World War II era sisters in the PN have a hope to finally get their long-awaited and much deserved rest
The PN still has World War II era ships in service. The venerable BRP Rajah Humabon, the Rizal-class corvettes and the Miguel Malvar-class corvettes. All of these ships are of World War II vintage and veterans of World War II. Even if they are also old, the Hamilton-class ships are still way more modern and younger than these World War II ships by decades, and are still a viable option to replace them. With the arrival of the Hamilton-class cutters and the prospect of even more coming, hope is high for these old veterans to finally get their long-awaited and much-deserved rest.
Fourth, they give us more experience on the Oto Melara 76mm gun.
The 76mm Oto Melara Compact Cannon of one of the Gregorio del Pilar-class ships
Although the PN has previous experience with the Oto Melara 76mm Compact Cannon on the Jacinto-class corvettes. The Hamilton-class ships allow us to train more personnel to operate them.
The Jacinto-class corvette, the PN’s previous source of training, exposure, and experience on the Oto Melara 76mm Compact Cannon
With the arrival of the Hamilton-class cutters and their Oto Melara 76mm Compact Cannon main guns, the PN has more opportunities to gain experience on these weapons and train more personnel in operating these guns. The PN previously had trouble with the Oto Melara guns on the Jacinto-class ships, and more training and exposure to these weapons will help make our crew more proficient with them.
Fifth, they train our naval aviators on ship-borne operations.
An AW109 on a Gregorio del Pilar-class frigate
Before the Gregorio del Pilar-class there were only 3 vessels (not including modifications on some World War II era ships) in the PN with helipads and none with a hangar. With the arrival of the Hamilton-class ships, the PN got exposure to allowing helicopters to stay in a ship’s hangar safely tucked in and not just chocked and chained to the flight deck. They also provide more opportunities for training and exposure to ship-borne helicopter operations to train our naval aviators to operate in future helipad and hangar equipped vessels.
The Bacolod-class LSV, the two ships of this class were 2 of only 3 ships of the PN built with a helipad (not counting the modifications done to the older Andres Bonifacio class and other modified World War II vessels)
The BRP Ang Pangulo, the presidential yacht, 1 of only 3 ships of the PN built with a helipad
So that’s five things the Hamilton-class cutter can do even without missiles. Not really useless just because it doesn’t have missiles.