BRP Alcaraz conducts test-fire of weapons in Atlantic OceanBy Frances Mangosing
Youtube video of testfire courtesy of Philippine Embassy in Washington
MANILA, Philippines -The BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the Philippines’ second warship cruising to its new home port, conducted a “successful” test-fire of its main weapons system in the Atlantic Ocean, the Philippine Embassy in Washington said.
“We have successfully test-fired our Oto Melara gun with a high degree of accuracy,” the Embassy quoted Captain Ernesto Baldovino, the commanding officer of the Alcaraz as saying in a statement. “This weapons system is very reliable.”
Baldovino, in his report to Capt. Elson Aguilar, Defense and Naval Attaché at the Embassy, said that the Alcaraz’s Italian-made Oto Melara, a rapid-fire cannon that can shoot as many as 80 76-mm rounds per minute, fired 15 rounds—three to calibrate the cannon and 12 directed at floating targets two to three miles away.
“Captain Baldovino was more than satisfied with how the Oto Melara performed,” Aguilar said, adding that the cannon did not misfire during the test-firing that was conducted from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday (US Eastern time).
Aguilar said the test-firing of the Oto Melara took place in the Atlantic Ocean, three and a half hours after leaving Mayport, Florida, where it arrived early Tuesday to load ammunition.
The BRP Ramon Alcaraz is now proceeding to the Panama Canal, its next stop in its nearly two-month journey to the Philippines.
It will also make stops in San Diego, Honolulu and Agana until it arrives in Manila around the first week of August. The vessel is manned by 88 Navy officers and crewmen.
The warship left Charleston, South Carolina on Monday, more than a year after it was acquired from the US Coast Guard.
“As you know, there are some tensions in the West Philippine Sea and this may put you in harm’s way but there is no doubt that you will perform your duty of protecting Philippine territory if needed,” Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. said on the eve of the departure of BRP Ramon Alcaraz.