Sri Lankan Cutter Sails for Home

Sri Lanka’s second Hamilton Class Cutter set sail for home on 3 September. Redesignated as an Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV) the ship, known by its hull number P627, was handed over to Sri Lanka in October last year. P627’s sistership, SLNS Gajabahu (P626) was infamously used by Sri Lanka’s former President to escape the country earlier this year amidst massive unrest. 

Prior to being transferred to Sri Lanka, P627 served for over fifty years in the United States Coast Guard (USCG) as USCGC Douglas Munro (WHEC-724) where it was posted primarily to the Pacific. As well as the two Hamilton-class cutters, Sri Lanka was also the recipient of a single Medium Endurance cutter, SLNS Samudura (P261) in 2005.  

While in Seattle, P627 underwent unspecified upgrades and modernisation work to meet the “operational needs” of the Sri Lankan Navy. Overt Defense reached out to the Sri Lankan Navy for more information, however, they did not respond prior to publication. 

210630-N-WU807-1751 INDIAN OCEAN (June 30, 2021) Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) and Sri Lankan Navy Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel SLNS Gajabahu render honors to each other after concluding Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises, June 30. In its 27th year, the CARAT series is comprised of multinational exercises, designed to enhance U.S. and partner navies’ abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Adam Butler)

P627 is expected to be formally named and commissioned sometime in November.

Photos released by the Navy, and posted on social media, show three main visual changes to the vessel. At the rear, its Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) has been removed and may have been replaced with a dual 23mm cannon as on her sister ship. New Sea Boats are also mounted on cranes on each side of the bridge, and the ship has a new grey-white colour scheme. 

P627 is expected to visit several foreign ports on its two-month trip to Colombo. First, the vessel will visit Pearl Harbour in Hawai’i, before proceeding to Apra in Guam, then Manilla in the Philippines and finally Changi Naval Base in Singapore. 

Cover Image Courtesy of Jordanroderick, CC BY-SA 4.0