Monday, September 5, 2011

More WHEC vessels for military

By Elena Aben
Manila Bulletib, Sunday, September 5, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo SL Oban Jr. said Saturday that the military expects to acquire another weather high-endurance cutter (WHEC) vessel, like the modern Hamilton-class BRP Gregorio Del Pilar early next year, as he emphasized the military’s capability development is not geared towards any country, but to protect the country’s resources.

In an interview at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, following the retirement ceremony for AFP Inspector General Vice Admiral Mario Catacutan, Oban said the AFP is working on the acquisition of two additional Hamilton class ships, adding that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is optimistic it will get the second WHEC vessel for the Navy early next year.

But he admitted a lot of work still needs to be done to ensure that two more Hamilton class vessels of the US Coast Guard (USCG) will go to the AFP.

It will be recalled that the Navy’s first Hamilton ship from the USCG, renamed as BRP Gregorio Del Pilar, and now the largest ship in the Philippine Navy arrived last month with President Aquino leading the welcome ceremony. Also present during the event was US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr.

At hte welcome ceremony for the newest member of the Philippine Fleet, the President bared a kist military equipment to be acquired for the fulfillment of the military capability upgrade and modernization program during his term.

Included in the President’s list of military equipment programmed to be acquired to enhance the capability of the Army, Air Force, and Navy are lead-in jet trainers and “similar weather heavy- endurance cutter.”

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