The Philippine Navy will receive two second-hand Cyclone-class patrol vessels from the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Navy decommissioned two Cyclone-class coastal patrol ships on 28 March and announced their transfer to the Philippine Navy on the same day. The second-hand vessels are expected to arrive in the Philippines in May. The pair of vessels is USS Monsoon and USS Chinook, the last ones of their type in the U.S. Navy. They had been serving with Task Force 55 of Naval Support Activity Bahrain. Of the ten ships of this type operated by the U.S.Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain, five went to Bahrain last year and three to Egypt this April.
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 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.
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).