Tuesday, July 16, 2013

More Photos from BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16)'s Hawaii Port Call (12-16 July 2013)

The Philippine Navy's latest frigate, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, is ending its scheduled port call at Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam in Hawaii later on the Hawaiian morning of 16 July 2013 after staying for 4 days. It has been replenished and refueled to continue its journey to its next port call in Guam until it reaches Manila by 2 August 2013.

The last 4 days saw the ship's crew attending different functions and activities, as shown on the photos posted here at MaxDefense.

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) as it approaches Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on 12 July 2013.
Photo taken from Shipspotting.com, photo by WadeArmstrong.

A photo taken from the PF-16 preparing to dock at Pearl Harbon on 12 July 2013.
Photo taken from PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz Facebook page.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam Base Commander, Capt. Jesse James, welcomes the BRP Ramon Alcaraz officers upon arrival.
Photo taken from Philippine Navy website BRP Alcaraz blog.


Consul Roberto T. Bernardo delivering the opening speech for the PF-16's welcome party on 12 July 2013.
Photo taken from Philippine Navy website BRP Alcaraz blog.
A hula dance performance during the welcome party from representative of the Filipino-American Community in Hawaii.
Photo taken from Philippine Navy website BRP Alcaraz blog.

Members of the Filipino-American Community in Hawaii enjoying the presence of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz in Hawaii.
Photo taken from PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz Facebook page.

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz's main gun just after sunset on 12 July 2013.
Photo taken from PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz facebook page.


The crew of BRP Ramon Alcaraz visiting the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii. They paid tribute to the sacrifices of the fallen crew of USS Arizona.
Taken from PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz Facebook page.


During the stay in Hawaii, 5 enlisted crew members of the ship have made an Oath of Re-Enlistment for another 3 years of military service. The following crew members are:
- EN2 Regidor Labrador
- EN3 Tomas Ciruelos, Jr.
- EN3 Ernesto Cabahug
- S2YN Erica Celemin
- EN3 Marlon Martonito

5 enlisted personnel of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz taking their Oath of Re-enlistment rites for another 3 years of naval service. Presiding the oath is PF-16 commanding officer Capt. Ernesto Baldovino.
Taken from PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz Facebook page.  



The crew of BRP Ramon Alcaraz doing replenishment and final checks in preparation for its departure from Hawaii to continue its journey.
Photo taken from PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz Facebook page.

Good morning Hawaii, July 16, 2013.
Photo taken from PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz Facebook page
.
The ship's officers discussing the activities of the morning, July 16, 2013.
Photo taken from PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz Facebook page.

Pre-departure Catholic Mass held at the ship's helideck, with the base chaplain leading the ceremonies.
Photo taken from PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz Facebook page.

AFP Liaison Officer to the US Pacific Command, Col. Restituto Padilla, PAF with Consul Roberto Bernardo.
Photo taken from PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz Facebook page.


Visitors enjoying the "despedida" party meal before the ship's departure from Hawaii, July 16, 2013.
Photo taken from PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz Facebook page.


MaxDefense will post updates on the ship's journey and its next port call in Guam, which the ship is expected to arrive there by next week. Wishing the ship and crew a safe and problem-free journey.

For more on the ship's journey, you may also refer to the official navy sites:

* Facebook page of BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16): https://www.facebook.com/pages/PF-16-Ramon-Alcaraz/533450743369095?fref=ts

* Philippine Navy's BRP Alcaraz blogs: http://www.navy.mil.ph/alcaraz/



21 comments:

  1. Hello Sir Max. I'd like to ask something. Which would be better as a starting/training sub for the PN? A Romeo class or a locally built midget sub made with US assistance.

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    1. Both of your proposals are not feasible. The Soviet Romeo class subs are too old and very obsolete, and there are no more in the market. Then the Americans do not produce midget subs, if they did probably other allied countries will have them. And having midget subs will not really train the navy much on conventional submarine operations.

      The beat way to learn is to send our navymen abroad, train with submarines of allied or friendly countries. Vietnam's purchase of 6 Kilo class subs from Russia included a comprehensive training program and support for a number of years. Singapore also had a similar deal with Sweden before.

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    2. Interesting:

      "Singapore also had a similar deal with Sweden before."

      That seems like a good model for the Philippines. 3 Gotland Class submarines sure would provide a quality capabilities upgrade for the PN.

      Imo, the Philippines should try and cooperate more with Nordic European nations like Sweden. The military capabilities of those nations were designed to stave off an overpowering hegemon(the Soviet Union), so there are some distinct similarities to the situation that the Philippines is facing with the aggressive, rising, chinese hegemon.

      Furthermore, countries like Sweden aren't so economically intertwined with China and their people also have an independent spirit, so they are less likely to be susceptible to Chinese pressure when it comes to striking arms deals with the Philippines.

      I, for one, would be disappointed if the Philippines doesn't have a squadron of Gripen NG and 3 Gotland Class subs in its arsenal by the early 2020s.

      Laurence

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    3. If PN wanted the same Submarine deal that Vietnam did with Russia. Now is a good time to talk to Russia, Russia is desperate for Military sales and cash. I know a Kilo, Amur or Lada class SSK is a bargain compared to European and Asian SSK Submarines. If you try to get an SSK submarine from France, Germany or Sweden, it would be very pricy and way out of your budget. The Deal that Vietnam got included comprehensive training in Russia on basic submarine operations and tactics. Even learning how to maintain a Kilo. Which is why for PN, if they want good military hardware, go and make a deal with Putin and Russia.

      Here's the price on the Amur class SSK
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amur-class_submarine

      Here's info on the Kilo class SSK
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilo_class_submarine

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    4. Nicky, it's not best to quote prices from Wikipedia. We all know that information there can be edited by anyone, even by an elementary school student. But to be fair, Russian subs are generally cheaper than European models.

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    5. Yes, Russian subs generally are cheaper to buy than European subs, although I'm pretty sure that the difference in the purchase price between the Gotland and the Kilo isn't large. However, European subs generally have the lower operational costs, and that difference in operational costs can quickly add up. A Swedish Gotland, for example, will probably cost more than a Kilo initially. After ten years of service, however, there will likely be no cost difference or the Gotland may already cost less. And after 20 to 30 years of service, the Gotland will cost less. If the Russians make some super low price deal, however, this may not hold true, of course.

      Reliability and ease of maintenance are further factors which one needs to consider, especially since the Philippines will likely always require a high level of readiness from its small navy.

      I'm also not sure that the Philippines should be buying a sub that the Chinese Navy already has in service.

      Last but not least, one should not discount political considerations. Buying from a highly industrialized, democratic, and independent country like Sweden is, in my opinion, always preferable to buying from a semi-democratic, authoritarian state like Russia, since the likelihood of Sweden being a reliable partner in the medium and long term future is higher.

      That being said, the Kilo is a fine submarine that is in use with many navies and should be part of any bidding process when and if the AFP decides to acquire subs, as should the German Type 209 and the French CA-2000. At the very least, the Russian Kilo class should be considered a fall-back option if the terms set by potential western European suppliers are unsatisfactory.

      Ok, back on topic:

      It's nice to see the Alcarez moving closer and closer to Philippine territorial waters. The Hamiltons may be old and heavily used, but they're pretty ships nonetheless and definitely are more than a match for the Chinese white fleet ships.

      Laurence

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    6. Thanks for enlightening this teenager sir! Regarding the midget subs which country would be the best one to give us a helping hand if we ever get to the point where we build our own?

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    7. Most international (and even local) analysts believe that Vietnam will actually have difficulty in maintaining and operating the 6 Kilo class subs they recently bought, which will put strain in their defense budget and technological base. That is what the Philippine Navy is trying to avoid, so it is expected that the PN will start slowly but surely. The most recent offer made to the PN for subs actually did not come from Europe or Russia, but from Korea.

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    8. The South Korean boats are quite good, Max, especially the "stretched" Chang Bogo that Indonesia ordered. Actually Chang-Bogo class SSK are of German design--the Type 209. This can give the PN a submarine experience.

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    9. Why do you think the US Navy calls the Kilo class SSK the black hole SSK subs. It's because the Kilo class SSK is one of the most advanced Non-nuclear diesel SSK subs in the world and it's able to hide and make it very difficult for the US Navy or any other Navy to find. Which is why most countries are buying Kilo class SSK's because it's cheaper to be brought in large numbers. Even Vietnam is buying 6 of them.

      Which is why, if PN wants SSK submarines, they should seriously have a long talk with Russia for Kilo class SSK or their newer ones, the Amur class SSK that they are building with Italy. The Chang bogo class SSK is more of an enlarged version of the Type 209 SSK. I seriously have my doubts that the PN can operate an advance Type 209 SSK or the Chang bogo SSK. Which is why I think the Kilo and Amur class SSK would be the front runner.

      One good thing about an SSK submarine is that they can be used listening post in the EEZ, choke the enemy from entering the EEZ and for special forces insertion and exfiltration. SSK's make good Intelligence gathering subs.

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    10. regarding russian hardware, there is always the question of integrating (commonality of) russian operating system to our armed forces' US/NATO system, so it is very unlikely for PN to acquire russian subs...IMO chang-bogo (type 209) from SK would be the best option IF ever PN will be getting subs in the near future, that of course if part of the deal includes training of PN sailors.

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    11. Max:

      Interesting that the most recent sub offer was from the South Koreans. Was it the South Korean derivative of the German Type 212 that was being offered? If they've managed to fix the noise problems by now and the price is right, it could be a good option.

      Nicky:

      It's not true that "most countries are buying Kilo class SSK's". If you look at the list of countries operating the Kilo, it's immediately obvious that they are or were all traditional Soviet Bloc arms importers. That includes Vietnam. Many of the operators are also operating the old Kilo Class, not the new Kilo Class, ie. those are older purchases.

      Vietnam and the Philippines likely have different tactical requirements for subs, so while Vietnam may feel that the Kilo is the best choice for their subs, this may not be the case for the PN.

      Laurence

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    12. In regards to Kilo class SSK not integrating with US/NATO, go take a look at the Polish Navy. The Polish Navy has one Kilo class SSK that integrates with US/NATO very well. It's why I believe the a Kilo class is a bargain deal compared to Western European and Asian SSK. The price of a Kilo class SSK is quoted to be US$200–250 million dollars per Kilo class SSK.

      The Problem with the Type 209/Chang Bogo-class submarine is that PN in their service history has no working experience on Submarines. So their learning curve is going to be extremely steep on top of learning to operate multi Role Frigates. Compared to South Korea's Type 209/Chang Bogo-class submarine, India Navy has the heavier version of the Type 209 called the Shishumar-class submarine. Even the Indian Navy operate a mix of Russian and western ships including Submarines such as Type 209 and Kilo class SSK.

      So it is possible for the PN to operate Russian SSK's if they learn from the Polish Navy and Indian Navy.

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  2. I hope there is no delay. The weather is always come here every week.

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  3. Of topic but what do you guys think of the possible VFA 'expansion'???

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  4. What is this nonsense about subs now? With the maintenance practices in our country and the limited budget for replacement parts, we might as well ask japan for a modernized version of the kaiten.

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    1. LoL! I would go for that (Kaiten Sub), as long as it is not that modernize that it still needs a pilot. My reason is to ask Mr. Renato Reyes or Benito Lim (Hamilton Class Hater) to pilot it to kingdom-come.

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  5. as far as submarines for the Phil Navy. I would talk to Japan about allowing our navy to train our entry level submarine personnel in their submarine force. Training and experience. And then maybe purchase or lease one of their modernized subs for PN service. And then we can go expand from there

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  6. are they going to equip the alcaraz with the cannons during drydock?

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  7. With all the initiatives of acquisition of crafts and vessels, its about time to encourage SRDP programs particularly in ship building. We have domestic shipbuilders capable of providing OPV with modular systems(radar, weaponry, navigation systems) supported abroad by naval contractors and builders. The big surprise of all is the price. Its 1/3 of the Dollars in Billions acquisition costs.
    We need ti support these shipbuilders here. I know one in marivelez bataan and the group i believe is committed to create the first Filipino made Off-shore-patrol- vessel (100 AOL OPV)

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  8. Mabuhay pilipinas im so proud to be a pilipino now...president pnoy good job God blessed the philippines.


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