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PS Emilio Jacinto Class

The Philippine Navy purchased 3 Peacock class patrol craft from the United Kingdom in April 1997 for a reported 20 million USD. The ships had been built by Hall Russel of Aberdeen, Scotland for service Hong Kong and became surplus to British Navy requirements as the colony prepared to be returned to People's Republic of China on 30 June 1997. The Philippine Navy recieved the former HMS Peacock, HMS Plover, and HMS Starling, recommissioning all 3 on 4 August 1997 as the BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35), BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36), and BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS-37). The vessels were classified as Patrol Corvettes (PS) under the Philippine Navy's hull number system. The class as also been referred to as the Jacinto Class Patrol Vessel (JCPV).

The Emilio Jacinto class became some of the more advanced vessels in the Philippine Navy. Having been produced in the 1980s, they featured modern ammenties such as central air conditioning and were more reliable in rough sea conditions then existing World War II era patrol craft such as the Miguel Malvar class. The ships also featured a modern armament of a single 76mm OTO-Melara rapid fire gun on the bow, as well as additional 7.62mm machine guns. Electronic fire control and navigational equipment, night vision equipment, and other more modern systems were also fitted.

In November 2003 an upgrade project to be conducted in three phases was approved. Phase I would focus on armament and electronics upgrades. The British firm of QinetiQ Ltd was designated as the primary contractor for the ugprade. The contract was valued at 10.4 million pounds.

The upgrade included the addition of a single 25mm Bushmaster chain cannon mounted on a Mk 38 Mod 0 gun mount was added at the stern. MSI Defense Systems Limited was contracted to do the installation. The main gun was also refurbished by OTO-Melara. The GSA7 Sea Archer Mk 1 electro-optical fire control system, which controlled the forward gun, was replaced with a Rademac 1500 optronic fire control system. A Raytheon gyro-compass, Sperry Marine Bridge Master E Series navigational radar, GPS support, anemometer, and EM log were also fitted. The upgrades to all ships were officially completed by 2006, with the Emilio Jacinto in dry dock from from November 2004 to April 2005, an unidenitifed vessel in the class from February 2005 to October 2005, and the remaining ship from March 2005 to November 2005.

Not specifically part of the upgrade program, the 7.62mm machine guns were also reportedly replaced with .50 caliber machine guns, and 20mm cannon were also added amidships. The fitting of an anti-ship missile system was also proposed, but as of 2009 no such system or missiles had been purchased or fitted.

New generators were also procured during the period of the Phase I upgrades. On 16 July 2004 the Propmech Corporation in Manila bay submitted a price quotation for replacement generators for the Emilio Jacinto class. The contract was approved by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on 25 October 2004, while the Notice to Proceed was issued to Propmech on 29 October 2004. The generators themselves were delivered in 2005.

The planned Phase II, a propulsion upgrade, and Phase III, improvements for life support systems, were in the process of negotiations as of 2006. Phase II, also referred to as the Engineering Upgrade, was opened to public bidding on 23 June 2005. On 3 separate occasions, the bid was declared as having failed due to the inability of the bidders to meet minimum technical specifications. A rebidding conducted on 7 October 2007 involved only one eligible bidder, FF Marine Corporation. The contract was signed by the Secretary of National Defense on 21 December 2006. By the end of 2007, it was reported that the upgrade of PS-36 was at 32.6 percent completion and PS-35 was at 23 percent.

The Emilio Jacinto class vessels have been an important part of the Philippine Navy's force since their introduction. The Emilio Jacinto was paired with a boarding team from the US Navy's USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) during the Philippine phase of the 2005 Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise. The Emilio Jacinto class vessels have 2 Avon Searaider rigid hull inspection dinghies to help with Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) type missions. Ships of the class have regularly participated in the annual Balikatan exercises, also with the US Navy, as well as the CARAT exercsies.

The Artemio Ricarte, the only ship not being worked on as part of the Phase II upgrades was the ship most often cited as a participant in international exercises after 2007, suggesting that by 2009 work on the other two members of the Emilio Jacinto class had not been completed. In December 2008 the Artemio Ricarte also particiapted in a Maritime Survey exercise with elements of the Philippine Coast Guard.




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