Fair seas for a vintage warrior

Philippine Navy flagship BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) on a calm day in the Pacific with an AgustaWestland AW109E Power on her helicopter deck hamilton

Here we see the nearly 50 year old Philippine Navy flagship BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) on a calm day in the Pacific with an AgustaWestland AW109E Power on her helicopter deck. The Navy acquired two AW109s in December 2013 and has been working hard the past couple years to integrate them into fleet operations.

If the GdP looks familiar, she started life as the USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715) in 1967 and was decommissioned in 2011 after 44 years of very hard service to the Coast Guard and transferred to the PN in largely disarmed condition. Since then she has been busy in standoffs with the PLAN in disputed waters. CGC plans HamiltonPresident Obama toured the ship on his visit to the Philippines in 2015 and her two sisters, Ramon Alcaraz (ex-Dallas) and the as yet to be renamed ex-Boutwell are set to expand the reach of the fleet. The 2900-ton USNS Melville (T-AGOR-14), the oldest active vessel in the U.S. academic research fleet will also transfer sometime this year.

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