Tomas Batillo Class
(Ex-South Korean Navy PKM 200) Gunboats
Tuesday March 15, 2005
Built by the Korea Tacoma Shipyard, these units
are appropriately named after Philippine servicemen who served with distinction
during the Korean War. The first 5 units were acquired by the Philippine
Navy from South Korea in 1995 and were refurbished at the Sangley Point Naval
shipyard. These five units were commissioned into PN service a year later
on May 22, 1996. PG-116, BRP Nicolas Mahusay (Gold Cross, Infantry,
Philippine Army, posthumous, awarded for gallantry in action during the Korean
War) was commissioned much later on July 2, 1998.
Among the more modern units of the Philippine
Navy, these gunboats together with the newly commissioned Cyclone Class (BRP
General Mariano Alvarez) provide much of the punch for a task group designated
to defend the Malampaya Natural gas platforms northwest of Palawan.
PG-116 was originally designated as a spares source by the PN and was slated to
be picked apart to provide spares for the rest of the fleet. This plan has
since been changed and a request for proposal has been issued by the PN for a
full overhaul of two units including the replacement of existing MTU diesel
engines with GM or Caterpillar diesel engines.
Hull numbers and names of the units are as
PG 110 – BRP Tomas Batillo
PG 111 – BRP Boni Serrano
PG 112 – BRP Bienvenido Salting
PG 114 – BRP Salvador Abcede
PG 115 – BRP Ramon Aguirre and
PG 116 – BRP Nicolas Mahusay
The Philippines is currently negotiating with
South Korea on the purchase of more of these boats as they are replaced in SK
service by newer units. Two more units of the class are said to be on the
way and will be delivered to the PN by the end of 2004.
Note: Note how the hull numbers skipped?
The PN, like all navies is superstitious and does not like to tempt fate by
giving a ship an unlucky number.
Currently also in service with the South Korean
Navy, these boats displace 143 tons full load. The maximum speed of 38 knots is
made possible by two MTU 16V538 TB90 diesel engines generating a combined output
of 10,000 HP driving two propellers. Best sustained speed is 32 knots.
Range at 32 knots sustained speed is 500 miles. At a slower speed of 20
knots it can travel for 1000 miles and on a maximum load of 15 tons of fuel.
Armament of the class is varied. PG 116 is
armed with one 20 mm Vulcan cannon in a powered, manned mount forward, two 20 mm
guns on the bridge wings, two .50 cal guns aft of the forecastle and one 40 mm
Mk3 Bofors at the stern. PG112 has one twin-30 mm Emerlec mounting
forward, two 50 cal guns forward of the forecastle, two 20 mm guns on the
bridge wings, two 50 cal guns aft of the forecastle and one 40 mm Bofors Mk3 gun
at the stern and two 50 cal on the stern. As far as is know, the later armament fit is more common.
The original South Korean units were equipped with a manual optical fire control
atop the bridge and it is assumed that this was transferred as well. PG114
has a 40mm main gun forward in place of the Emerlec. Secondary armament is
the same as the others for PG114.
Published sources indicate that the boats carry a
Raytheon 1645 navigation and surface search radar though in PN service this
would most likely be versions of the Raytheon SPS64.
It takes a crew of about 5 officers and 26
enlisted personnel to effectively run these boats.
Palawan guardian. The photo below,
taken recently (2004), shows BRP Bienvenido Salting anchored off the Lagen
Island, an off-shoot of Palawan Island. Note the heavy gun armament together
with the extra drums of diesel fuel. Thanks to Alf for the photo.
Emerlec Twin 30mm. Close up of the
Emerlec twin 30mm guns. Note that this gunboat does not
have the .50 cal right behind the
Emerlec mount. The mount itself is airconditioned but is not stabilized
though the gun sight in the mount is stabilized enabling somewhat accurate shots
while on the move.