The Philippine Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16)
Our military is proud to say that despite hostilities Our most powerful weapon against conflict is peace resolution “General quarters! General quarters! All hands, man your battle stations!” However, it is also best to be armed and prepared when the situation calls for it The BRP Alcaraz is by far the toughest warship This ship has a length of 378 feet It’s just like 4 1/2 basketball courts And so far, the longest and heaviest ship of the Philippine Navy A size big enough to provide habitability and comfort to 180 sailors on board She is equipped 2 18,000 horsepower Pratt & Whittney gas turbines And can propel the ship with speed up to 28 knots or 52 kilometers per hour It can also be driven with fuel efficiency at 17 knots or 31 kilometers per hour Up to 14,400 nautical miles Without refueling, it can run straight for almost 27,000 kilometers It was named after a naval hero, Ramon Alcaraz The former commander of offshore combat force used to recommend the name BRP Andres Bonifacio And it went through the process in the navy level And it reached out up until the AFP level, until the Department of National Defense level But when they passed it to the office of the President I believe there was a guidance from the commander-in-chief to change it to a naval hero And it just so happens that Ramon Alcaraz was a former naval hero Being a commanding officer of the “Q-boat” That engaged the Japanese warships way back in World War 2 The Philippine Navy has initially embarked on modest-vessel acquisition And upgrade projects in order to fulfill its mandated mission and objectives for military advancements This ship was given to us by the United States Through the exchange defense articles through the foreign assistance act This is primarily to boost our capability as a navy And in the armed forces particularly in our concerns in our Philippines seas Given the present scenario The Philippine military is embarking on a modernization plan to improve the country’s deterrence capabilities By letting intruders know that the Philippines will be able to respond if necessary But what are the special features of this frigate? Find out when DSTV returns Protector of the sea stand sentinel where the queen sea patrol docks Keen On guard Prepared for any action or assignment So far, we have a level 2 status meaning we are ready-at-sea anytime The loaded capacity of this ship shall be practical and adequate for coastal patrol duties Troop transport and disaster relief So far, this ship can deliver different missions Just like our previous mission before that involves HLDR during the Yolanda As a matter of fact, that was her first mission upon commissionship And then this was sent to the West Philippine Sea for patrols And of course the security of Malampaya And the we also supported the all out offensive during the Mamasapano incident We also supported the kidnap for ransom operations that was conducted in south-western Mindanao Now, let’s see the weapons that surround our sea hero ship First, the primary battery This is the primary batter or what we call the primary gun This is the Mark 75 76mm naval gun The primary purpose of this gun is against air threats or air targets Then this can also be used against subsonic missiles We can also use this against surface targets, against shore targets or naval gun fire support The rate of fire of the Mark 75 mount is 80 rounds per minute That’s how much it can fire in a minute The Mark 75 is fully automated It can only be fired through the Mark 92 Mode 1 control system It is also armed with a secondary batter for close range shooting This is our close-in weapon system or the secondary battery, the Mark 38 Mode 2 machine gun system The primary purpose of this is for surface targets It can engage surface targets It’s primary elevation is 60 degrees compared to our primary battery which is 85 degrees The maximum effective range for this is 2,950 yards or 2,700 meters But it’s maximum range is 16 kilometers It’s projectile measures 25 millimeter and the length of the bullet is approximately 10 inches You know, for a growing navy like ours This ship is a multiplier to our capability The acquisition of this ship paves the way for a more modern capability in the future It’s all about following the laid out sail plan, the laid out strategy of our navy So that we can have a credible and strong navy that can address our requirements in our own Philippine seas It may be able to go one-on-one with our neighboring countries But at least we are gaining some distance towards that “All together!” “Happy birthday!” “Let’s feast!” These men are on voyage for weeks and months But even amidst recess they can never be fully at rest “This is a drill! This is a drill!” “General quarters! General quarters!” “All hands, man your battle stations!” “121, acces 1! 121, access 1” “General quarters! General quarters! All hands, man your battle stations!” But this was just a test What we did earlier is to execute a general quarters followed by fire in port And since it’s general quarters, we did executed a “emergency getting underway” and a fire at sea drill Our drill had a good outcome, they were quick to man the stations and of course they did it safely There was no personnel casualty and equipment casualty And of course, all the personnel, they were efficient in manning their stations And they executed the drill effectively “Gun on remote now, sir!” “Track the target” But these exercises were also helpful to countercheck the condition of the ship I noticed that there was a lapse in the reports system The fire was reported to be in lounge 2 But the scenario was in lounge 1 Why did that happen? Because the smoke sensors here in the ship, once it is triggered, it won’t alarm anymore What went off was the other passage way. So, that is what we’re addressing now. We have put in a request for the replacement of the smoke sensors And of course calibration of the alarm system Our navy is doing a real good job in keeping this hero ship in good shape Aside from serving as sea patrol The BRP Alcaraz is also efficient in delivering service to the public “I am very grateful for your help and for providing the opportunity for our students to board your ship…” But did you know that you don’t necessarily have to be part of the Philippine navy To land your feet in this huge frigate The BRP Alcaraz is open for public viewing So, the next time you see this huge queen Hop in! Take a tour for yourself And rest assured You’ll know that you’re in the protective hands of our navy!