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The Philippine Navy (PN) on Wednesday welcomed the United States’ announcement on the transfer of four patrol boats to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), as this would greatly boost its capability to protect the country’s vast waters.

“The PN welcomes the development wherein the United States stated that they intend to transfer two Island-class patrol vessels and two Protector-class patrol vessels to the AFP, pending applicable processes that they are required to carry out,” Navy spokesperson Capt. Benjo Negranza said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) when sought for comment.

He added that the PN conveys its “sincere appreciation” to the US government for this gesture.

“Upon receipt of these vessels, it will definitely capacitate the Armed Forces of the Philippines in its mandate to defend the national sovereignty and secure our maritime domain,” Negranza added.

The Island patrol boats are a class of cutters operated by the US Coast Guard (USCG). It displaces 168 tons and measures 110 feet and has a beam of 21 feet.

It has a range of 2,900 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 29.5 knots and is armed with a 25mm chain gun and two .50 caliber machine guns.

Meanwhile, the Protector class, which is also operated by the USCG, has a displacement of 92 tons and is 87 feet long, and has a beam of 19 feet.

It has a range of 900 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 25 knots and is armed with two 12.7mm machine guns.

A statement that came from the White House on Monday (Washington, DC time) said the US would help enhance the capabilities of the AFP by transferring two Island and two Protector-class patrol vessels and three C-130H aircraft pending “applicable Congressional notification requirements.”

Additionally, two Cyclone-class patrol vessels are en route to the Philippines shortly after their decommissioning in Bahrain on March 28. (PNA)