Cyclone-class patrol ship
Cyclone-class patrol ship

Philippine Navy Awaiting US Nod on Transfer of Cyclone-class Patrol Ships

The Philippine Navy (PN) is awaiting the official approval of the United States government regarding the transfer of its newly-decommissioned Cyclone-class patrol vessels to the country. While waiting for the said approval, PN already requested the Price and Availability (P&A) of the CCV in order to identify the acquisition cost for planning/programming purposes of the end-user. The US government has an outstanding offer regarding the Cyclone-class patrol vessels to the PN under its Excess Defense Article (EDA) program.

The Cyclone-class patrol ships are a class of United States Navy coastal patrol boats. Most of these ships were launched between 1992 and 1994. The primary mission of these ships is coastal patrol and interdiction surveillance, an important aspect of littoral operations outlined in the Navy’s strategy, “Forward…From the Sea.” These ships also provide full mission support for U.S. Navy SEALs and other special operations forces. The Cyclone-class ships are assigned to Naval Special Warfare.

The Cyclone-class patrol coastal ship USS Shamal (PC 13) departs Naval Station Mayport, Fla. Shamal is one of the three Cyclone-class patrol coastal ships that were decommissioned at Naval Station Mayport. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Aaron Lau/Released)

In September 2010, the decision was made to recall all of the remaining ships of the class due to fatigue damage to their hulls. The class was designed for a lifespan of roughly 15 years. All but the newest member of the class, USS Tornado (PC-14), have been in service longer. The vessels will be inspected and a decision will be made whether to refit them or to decommission the ships. The remaining three ships of the class are slated to be transferred to Naval Station Mayport in Florida to work primarily with drug interdiction work with U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO).

The Philippine Navy has already expressed its intent to acquire these ships as early as December last year. At present, the Philippine Navy has one Cyclone-class patrol vessel in its service, formerly the ex-USS Cyclone. Cyclone was eventually sold to the Philippine Navy in January 2004, as part of a US military aid package to the Philippines, in an effort to bolster interdiction and counterterrorism capabilities. She was rechristened BRP General Mariano Alvarez (PS-38) on 8 March 2004, in honor of a revolutionary general in the Philippine war of independence against Spain.

The U.S. Navy Cyclone-class coastal patrol ships assigned to Patrol Coastal Squadron 1 (PCRON 1), USS Hurricane (PC-3), USS Chinook (PC-9) and USS Typhoon (PC-5), transit in formation during a divisional tactics exercise in the Persian Gulf. PCRON 1 was deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.