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The BRP Ramon Alcaraz, one of the Philippine Navy's newest ships, is due for another upgrade, where it will be fitted with additional rapid-firing weapons before the end of March.
A report on state-run Philippines News Agency said the Philippine Navy's second Gregorio del Pilar-class frigate will get Mk. 38 Mod. 2 25mm Bushmaster autocannons.
Navy spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic said the new weapons will be the secondary guns, mounted on the ship's left and right sides to complement the quick-firing 76mm Oto Melara main gun.
Fabic added the Bushmaster autocannons will allow the vessel to handle targets coming fast and that are too close for the ship to engage with its 76-mm gun.
He said American armament specialists will fit the weapons on the ship at the vessel's home port in Subic Bay in Zambales province.
Quoting military sources, the PNA report said the US Navy commissioned the weapon following the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000.
It added the weapon was designed to counter high-speed maneuvering surface targets and will be installed in almost all US surface ships by 2015.
The PNA said the remotely-controlled chain gun system can fire as many as 180 25-mm rounds per minute at targets as far as two kilometers away.
It also said the new systems are upgraded versions of the Mk. 38 M242 Bushmasters that were removed from the vessel before it was turned over to the Philippines.
BRP Ramon Alcaraz was commissioned last Nov. 22 at Manila South Harbor. She is the second former US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutter commissioned into the Philippine Fleet.
It was deployed to help in relief efforts for victims of Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City. — JDS, GMA News