US Navy transfers last two Cyclone-class vessels to Philippines

USS Chinook (DVIDS).

The US Navy (USN) has transferred two more Cyclone-class coastal patrol vessels – the last two of its type to be operated by service – to the Philippine Navy to boost the latter’s ability to secure its expansive coastline and littoral waters.

The patrol vessels, USS Monsoon and USS Chinook, were decommissioned by the USN’s Fifth Fleet on 28 March at a decommissioning ceremony at Naval Support Activity Bahrain in Manama.

The USN also took the opportunity at the decommissioning ceremony to announce the transfer of the vessels to the Philippine Navy via the US Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Excess Defense Article program.

The Philippine Navy already operates the lead vessel of the class – ex-USS Cyclone – after it was recommissioned as the BRP General Mariano Alvarez in 2004 following its transfer from the United States.

The service earlier expressed interest in acquiring more Cyclone-class patrol vessels in mid-2021 as the USN begun to retire and divest the type. The USN operated a fleet of 14 Cyclone-class patrol vessels that were commissioned between 1993 and 2000. Retired vessels in the class have also been transferred to the naval forces of Bahrain and Egypt.

“The PN has manifested its interest in the decommissioned Cyclone-class patrol vessels of the US Navy as a stop-gap to the decommissioned legacy [Philippine Navy] ships,” former navy chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo told state media at the time.

Adm Bacordo also noted a desire to acquire “at least five of those [vessels]” via the Joint US Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) and US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM).

The 54.6 m-long vessels have a full-load displacement of 387 tonnes and are capable to attain sprint speeds of up to 35 kt. The type also offers a maximum range of 2,500 nautical miles at 12 kt cruise speeds. When in USN service, the vessels were armed with two Mk 38 25 mm Bushmaster automatic cannons, two 7.62 mm machine guns, and three 12.7 mm heavy machine guns.

by Jr Ng