The Philippine Navy officially acknowledged on its Website that it had sent a Joint Visual Inspection (JVI) team to the US, from October 31 to November 5, to inspect the USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716) in Charleston, North Carolina. This confirms the PN press release shared on the Timawa.net forum on November 7, 2011 at 10:53 PM (US-Pacific time), and subsequently picked up by the Manila Bulletin and the Philippine Star.
The Dallas is a Hamilton class, 378-foot, High Endurance Cutter (WHEC) in service with the US Coast Guard. It was commissioned in 1967, and underwent an extensive Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) conversion in 1994 that gave the ship its current weapon and sensor suite.
Most of the ship’s missions have taken place close to the Continental US, performing traditional coast guard duties: search and rescue, anti-narcotics operations, and monitoring of illegal immigrant traffic by sea (e.g., Cuba, Haiti, etc.). However this cutter has also been deployed overseas in support of USN operations. Early in its life, it deployed to Vietnam along with several of her sister ships, to perform sea control functions as well as to provide naval gunfire support off the coast of then-South Vietnam. It has been deployed to the Black Sea on a number of occasions, the first being in 1995 when it became the first USCG cutter to deploy with the US 6th Fleet. In 2008, the Dallas returned to the Black Sea as part of a NATO flotilla that sent to transport humanitarian aid to Georgian port of Batumi at the height of tensions between Russia and the former Soviet republic.
In 2009, the Dallas underwent an 18-month drydock period at Deytens Shipyard in North Carolina where it underwent an extensive refitt (details from the FBO scope of work here). It spent time at the yard along with the USCGC Gallatin. Both ships were reportedly slated to be the first of the Hamilton class ships to be retired, however the expense incurred in aforementioned refit reportedly altered this plan.
The relatively early release of information about the Dallas acquisition is in stark contrast to the PF-15 acquisition, whose existence had been unannounced for more than half of the project’s life. Based on early Timawa-community reports, plans to obtain the USCGC Hamilton — which became the PF-15 — were reportedly hatched in the closing months of the Arroyo administration. The PF-15’s own JVI team reportedly completed it’s inspection in November 2010, roughly the same time of year as the Dallas. But the first acknowledgement of the incoming Hamilton did not come till January, and its identity wasn’t known till March. In the case of the Dallas, the intent to acquire additional Hamilton class WHECs had been made public in August of this year, and the selected ship identified four months later.
As per the PN press release, the USCGC Dallas will be transferred to the Philippines via a “hot transfer”, meaning the ship will be simultaneously decommissioned from the US Coast Guard and accepted by the Philippine Navy without going through a storage process. The transfer is expected in either the first or second quarter of 2012 — similar to the timeline for the PF-15.
For additional information about PF-15, see here: http://www.timawa.net/forum/index.php?topic=28851.0
For Timawa.net/forum discussions about the still un-renamed USCGC Dallas, see here: http://www.timawa.net/forum/index.php?topic=28980.0
Photo below taken from USCGC Dallas ship page: http://www.uscg.mil/lantarea/cgcDallas/history.asp