The BRP Apolinario Mabini was originally called HMS Plover during her service with Royal Navy’s Hong Kong Squadron as Peacock-class patrol vessels.
The Philippines is in front of the requirement to modernize their naval forces. Manila admits they own one of Southeast Asia’s weakest naval forces, so they need to boost investment to cope with external security threats, especially the militarized moves of China in the South China Sea.
China has recently stepped up militarization of the South China Sea by deploying anti-ship missiles and anti-aircraft missiles on artificial islands in the South China Sea. This will place the entire Philippine territory within Beijing’s sights.
In 2018 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved a plan to spend $5.6 billion for the program to modernize their military forces in the next five years.
According to maxdefense news, Jacinto-class patrol vessels PS-35 and PS-36 will be upgraded to re-enter Philippine Navy service soon. China has recently made moves to increase military activity in the South China Sea. The Philippine Navy has dispatched its warships to monitor Chinese ships. The BRP Apolinario Mabini is considered one of the most modern ships in the Philippine Navy. Her sister ships are the BRP Artemio Ricarte and BRP Emilio Jacinto. Brp Apolinario Mabini is one of The Naval vessels that the AFP Western Command sent to help in the searching efforts for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
The BRP Apolinario Mabini was originally called HMS Plover during her service with Royal Navy’s Hong Kong Squadron as Peacock-class patrol vessels. The vessel and her 2 sisters were sold to the Philippines, and were officially turned over to the Philippine Navy on 1 August 1997 when Hong Kong was ceded back to China.
Named after Apolinario Mabini, a hero of the Philippine revolution and a former prime minister. The vessel has undergone weapons, electronics, propulsion and hull upgrades in Philippine Navy service, increasing their capabilities as compared to the original Peacock class vessels.
The BRP Apolinario Mabini launched as the second of five patrol vessels of the Peacock class. These vessels were built by Hall, Russell & Company in the United Kingdom and were commissioned into Royal Navy service from 1983 to 1984. The class was designed specifically for patrol duties in Hong Kong waters.
Powerplant and performance
The ship is powered by two APE-Crossley SEMT-Pielstick diesels 14,188 horsepower combined driving two three-bladed propellers. It has a drop down loiter engine with a shrouded prop of 181 horsepower used to keep station and save fuel. The main engines can propel ship at over 28 knots, with a sustained speed of 25 knots. Its range is 2,500 nautical miles at 17 knots.
This corvette was specifically designed for Asian service, having air-conditioned crew spaces and have been designed to stay at sea during typhoons and other strong weather anomalies common to Asian seas.
The Oto Melara 76 mm Compact Dual Purpose gun is the primary weapon and is mounted in a turret forward of the bridge. It has a range of up to 10 nautical miles and can be used against ships, aircraft or ground targets.
It is remotely controlled from within the Combat Information Center by the gunnery officer and has no crew within the turret itself. The gun can fire 80 rounds in 60 seconds from its ready magazine, and the ships can carry a total of 450 rounds.
The secondary weapon located at the stern is a M242 Bushmaster 25mm cannon in an MSI Defense System Seahawk A1 mount. This weapon is integrated with the 76 mm primary weapon via an Ultra Electronics Command and Control System and a Radamec 1500 Series 2500 Electro-Optical Tracking Fire Control System.
This new system was installed as part of Phase 1 of the Philippine Navy upgrade program. The Radamec 1500 Series 2500 replaced the older GSA7 Sea Archer Mk 1 electro-optical director with a GEC V3800 thermal imager added in 1987.
In addition to the abovementioned guns, these ships also carry two 12.7mm 50 caliber heavy machine guns at the bridgewings, two 20 mm Mark 16 guns on Mk68 mounts at midships, and two 50 mm rocket flare projectors.
The BRP Apolinario Mabini had its upgrade under the Phase 3A project, with the United Kingdom’s Ultra Electronics. the new Ultra Electronics Fire Control System controlling the MSI Defence DS25 25mm gun system at the ship’s fantail to fire multiple rounds at more than 1400 meters distance, with a 100% hit rate.
The PS-36 now has a new Fire Control System suite from Ultra Electronics, a new Kelvin Hughes Sharpeye X-band surface-search radar system to replace the existing Sperry Marine Bridge Master E radar installed in 2005. It also has a new Electro-Optical Infra-Red targeting camera system, most likely the Ultra Electronics Series 1700. This replaced the existing system from Radamec.
The Philippine Navy is currently having a shortage of naval assets that they could use not just to patrol the country’s territorial waters, exclusive economic zones and territorial interests, despite the Philippine Navy appearing to deny it.
The modernization of existing warships is good relief the Philippine Navy as it allows more coverage of areas to be patrolled, as well as for use in other engagements like joint exercises with allies and partners.
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