The Philippine Navy’s BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) is now back at sea and is mission ready after it completed its Drydocking and Other Related Repairs (DDORR) at Subic Zambales on July 31 and Maintenance Availability Program from August 1 to 16. The ship successfully conducted its sea trial and 30-hour endurance run activities on August 25 which paved the way to upgrade its operational status to “mission-ready”. The deliberate implementation of PS17’s DDORR program is vital to ensure the highest level of equipment reliability in order to sustain maximum operational readiness, safety, and ship survivability.
The ship also received minor capability enhancements such as the Replenishment at Sea (RAS) capability, installation of MK38 25MM Machine Gun System, installation of new gun mounts, and additional tertiary guns to name a few. These initiatives are in line with the thrust of the Philippine Fleet to improve PS17’s overall readiness in the “Move, Shoot, Survive, and Communicate” capabilities. BRP Andres Bonifacio will soon be patrolling the country’s territorial waters, and other maritime areas of interest in support to the missions and objectives of the Offshore Combat Force, Philippine Fleet, Naval Operating Forces, and the Philippine Navy in general.
BRP Andrés Bonifacio (PS-17) is the third ship of the Gregorio del Pilar-class offshore patrol vessels of the Philippine Navy. She is the second ship of the Philippine Navy to be named after Andrés Bonifacio, a Filipino revolutionary leader, regarded as the “Father of the Philippine Revolution” and one of the most influential national heroes of the Philippines. From 1967–2016 the ship was a Hamilton-class high endurance cutter of the United States Coast Guard that was named USCGC Boutwell (WHEC-719). The U.S. decommissioned the cutter in early 2016 and the Philippines acquired it under the Excess Defense Articles and the Foreign Assistance Act.
The Philippine Navy plans to modernize the entire ship of the class, with an initial program to upgrade the ship’s sensors, and another program to improve its weapon systems. Several systems were acquired through US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF), which includes the BAE Systems Mk. 38 Mod. 2 machine gun system, the SAAB AN/SPS-77 Sea Giraffe AMB 3D air/surface search radar, and the FLIR Systems SeaFLIR 230 Electro-Optical/Infra-Red Camera. Future upgrades are planned to install defensive and offensive missile systems and torpedo launchers, although funding is still being secured in the next phase of the Navy’s modernization program.