PCE, is that you?
Here we see the beautiful Miguel Malvar-class “corvette” BRP Cebu (PS 28) of the Philippine Navy at a recent CORPAT PHILINDO exercise with Indonesian forces off Davo City, and later tied up at the same port’s Captain Feranil Pier last week.
If she looks familiar, she was originally built as USS PCE-881, a former PCE-842-class Patrol Craft Escort, by the Albina Engine and Machine Works of Portland, Oregon during WWII. She patrolled Alaskan coastal water in the tailend of the war and was then laid up, transferring to the PI in 1948.
Derived from the 180-foot Admirable-class minesweeper as a substitute for the much more numerous 173-foot PC-461-class of submarine chasers that were used for coastal ASW, the PCE-842-class was just eight feet longer but a lot heavier (650-tons vs 450-tons), which gave them much longer endurance, although roughly the same armament. They carried a single 3″/50 dual purpose mount, three 40mm Bofors mounts, five Oerlikon 20 mm mounts, two depth charge tracks, four depth charge projectors, and two depth charge projectors (hedgehogs)– making them pretty deadly to subs while giving them enough punch to take on small gunboats/trawlers and low numbers of incoming aircraft.
The Philippines used no less than 11 of these retired PCEs, eventually replacing their Glen Miller-era GM 12-567A diesel with more modern GM 12-278As, as well as a host of improvements to their sensors (they now carry the SPS-64 surface search and commercial nav radars, for instance.) Gone are the ASW weapons and sonar, but they do still pack the old 3-incher, long since retired by just about everyone else, as well as a smattering of Bofors and Oerlikons.