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PG Kagitingan Class

The PG Kagitingan class was designed and built in Germany on contract to the Philippine Navy in the 1970's with the intention of eventual production in the Philippines. The first vessel, produced by W. Muller shipbuilders in Hamelan, Germany was commissioned as the BRP Kagitingan (PG-101) in September 1979.

The vessels had a displacement of 132 tons and a top speed of 16 knots. The main armament was a single powered Emerlec EX 34 Mod 0 turret with 2 30mm cannons mounted forward of the main superstructure. The weapon system linked to a Elsag NA10 Mod 0 fire control system and Orion 10X fire control radar. 4 .50 caliber and 2 7.62mm machine guns complimented this system. Philippine sailors were sent to Europe to familiarize themselves with this new system, unlike the existing manually operated turrets with manual fire control systems.

Sources differ about whether the Kagitingan's sister ship, the BRP Bagong Lakas (PG-102) was built in Germany or at Cavite Shipyard in the Philippines. The Bagong Lakas was comissioned at the same time as the Kagitingan. Another member of the class, the BRP Katapangan (PG-103), entered service in 1982 after being constructed at either Cavite Shipyard or the Philippine Dockyard Corporation (also located in Manila Bay). A fourth hull, BRP Bagong Silang (PG-104) was launched at Cavite, and was planned to be commissioned in 1983, but its fate is uncertain. The other 2 planned ships in the class were canceled.

In 1984 the first ship of the PG Emilio Aguinaldo class was laid down, featuring a superstructure almost identical to that of the Kagitingan class. In the end 2 ships of that class were built, suggesting the possibility that the superstructures had reused from the planned BRP Bagong Silang or the other 2 planned ships in the class.

The Philippine Navy reportedly had problems keeping sailors training in their fire control and radar systems, which were themselves hard to maintain. The vessels were also grossly overpowered, having reportedly been designed with a top speed of 28 knots in mind. All Kagitingan class vessels were out of service by 1992. Due to a pressing need the ships were rehabilitated and recommissioned in 1994 as part of a broad increase in military funding. The ships rehabilitated as a result are unclear. Some sources suggested that PG-102 had been overhauled and PG-104 overhauled and commissioned as a result. Other sources reported PG-101, PG-102, and PG-103 still in service as of 2007. Documents provided by the ROTC program at De La Salle University in Manila suggested that in fact PG-101, PG-102, and PG-104 were the vessels remaining in inventory. The status of PG-101 and PG-103 were unclear, with some sources suggesting the former had been decomissioned in 2004, rusting away at Cavite Naval Shipyard, while the latter was being used in a reserve or training capacity, or as a spare for the remaining operational vessels.

During Balikatan 2006 the United States Navy's Mobile Diving Salvage Unit One (MDSU-1) and the Philippine Navy's Underwater Construction Team, Naval Construction Brigade conducted a combined salvage operation on a Kagitingan class vessel at Cavite Shipyard. It is unclear which member of the class this was. Had PG-101 languished away at Cavite after being removed from service in 2004, this would likely have been the ship in question. In November 2008 the Philippine Navy openned a contract for bidding valued at over 7 million Philippine pesos for materials for the repair of the Bagong Lakas. As of 2009 three vessels in the class were said to remain in the inventory of the Philippine Navy, but their operational status was unclear.

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