Saturday, June 1, 2013

Philippines to Receive Riverine Patrol Boats from US

The Philippine Navy (PN) is set to receive six riverine patrol boats (RPBs) from the United States in August under a US Navy (USN) Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract.
A Silver Ships riverine patrol boat (RPB) on trial in the United States.1513348A Silver Ships riverine patrol boat (RPB) on trial in the United States. (Silver Ships)
According to an official at manufacturer Silver Ships, a contract was signed with the USN in September 2011 and the boats were completed a year later. However, delivery was delayed until early May this year due to "non-availability of marine transport".
Although the boats are capable of open-water operations, they will be used primarily in shallow waters. They have a length of 40 ft, a beam of 10 ft 8 inches and a draft of less than two feet.

The boats feature a centre console configuration and a bow ramp to permit egress of embarked troops during beaching operations. They have three weapon mounts - two forward and one aft - for machine guns and grenade launchers as well as ballistic protection.

Powered by two Hamilton HJ-292 waterjets, each driven by a Yanmar 6LY2A-STP diesel producing 440 hp, top speed is 40 kt. Fully loaded, range is greater than 250 n miles at a cruising speed of more than 30 kt.

Besides Silver Ships, fellow US boatbuilder Willard Marine is supplying unspecified numbers of 7 m Sea Force 730 outboard rigged-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to the PN under an FMS programme.

In other news, the PN announced in March it was looking to buy three more multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) to add to its fleet of six vessels. "This acquisition is under our mid-term development plan for 2014-2017," said PN spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic.

The MPACs are similar to the CB-90 Combat Boat. The first three were constructed by Lung Teh Shipbuilding in Taiwan, while the following three were built locally to a revised design by Propmech Corporation, based in Subic Bay. The PN is hoping to later acquire 42 MPACs but funding remains an issue.

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