New PH warship test-fires gun

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The Philippines’ newest warship successfully test-fired its main weapons system off the Florida coast on Tuesday, proving its reliability, according to the Philippine Embassy in the United States.

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz, a Hamilton-class cutter that had been used as patrol vessel by the US Coast Guard, tested its rapid-fire gun in the Atlantic Ocean off Mayport, Florida, on Tuesday afternoon, the embassy said.

In a report to the embassy, Capt. Ernesto Baldovino, the ship’s commanding officer, said the Italian-made Oto Melara gun hit floating targets and did not misfire during the test.

“We have successfully test-fired our Oto Melara gun with a high degree of accuracy. This weapons system is very reliable,” Baldovino said.

During the test, the Alcaraz fired 15 rounds—three to calibrate the gun and 12 at floating targets from a distance of 4 to 5 kilometers.

Satisfied

The test was conducted about three hours after the Alcaraz departed from Mayport, where it had docked to load ammunition, the embassy said.

“Captain Baldovino was more than satisfied with how the Oto Melara performed,” Capt. Elson Aguilar, the embassy’s defense and naval attaché, said in a statement.

The Alcaraz, a 115-meter decommissioned US Coast Guard vessel that the Philippines acquired last year, is on its way to Manila with  $15.5 million (P620 million) worth of refitting and refurbishment and sea trials.

The vessel left port at Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday on its voyage to the Philippines. It will make port calls in Panama, San Diego, Honolulu and Guam, and is expected to arrive in the Philippines in the first week of August.

Formerly named Dallas, the cutter served with the US Coast Guard for 40 years.

The United States turned over the cutter to the Philippines last year under its Excess Defense Article Military Assistance Program.

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