MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) formally commissioned into service two more Israeli-made fast attack interdiction craft (FAIC) platforms increasing the number of such ships in its fleet to four as it celebrated its 125th founding anniversary Friday.
The commissioning ceremonies took place at the Commodore Divino Pier at PN headquarters in Naval Station Jose Andrada, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.
“President and Commander in Chief Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. witnessed the activity, which formally activated the two new capable boats as the third and fourth components of the Acero-class patrol gunboats of the (Philippine) Fleet’s Littoral Combat Force,” Navy spokesperson Capt. Benjo Negranza said in a statement.
The two newly-acquired Acero-class patrol gunboats, which were constructed by Israel Shipyard Ltd and also known as the Shaldag Mark V. BRP Gener Tinangag (PG-903) and BRP Domingo Deluana (PG-905), were christened last May 8 at the Naval Shipbuilding Facility Wharf, at Fort San Felipe, Cavite City.
The ships were delivered to the country last April 11.
The namesake of these vessels are both members of the Philippine Marine Corps and awardees of the Medal of Valor like the first two FAIC-Ms who were commissioned into service last November.
These FAIC-Ms are the BRP Nestor Acero (PG-901) and BRP Lolinato To-Ong.
“These vessels will soon see action once deployed to vital choke points, major sea lines of communication, and littoral domains of the country. These 32-meter long gunboats will provide added muscle to the Navy’s capability to secure the seas with their quick intercept ability, remote stabilized weapons, and short-range missiles,” Negranza said.
He added that the activation of two FAIC also known as the fast-attack interdiction craft-missile (FAIC)-Ms is a step closer to the completion of the nine-boat contract worth PHP10 billion.
“Their commissioning gave more prestige to the Navy’s celebration of its 125th founding year, providing a tangible manifestation of its anniversary theme, “Guardian of the Seas: Ensuring National Sovereignty, Security, and Stability,” Negranza noted.
Four of the FAIC-Ms will be armed with non-line-of-sight (NLOS) missiles with pinpoint accuracy and a range of 25 kilometers while the other five will be armed with typhoon-mounted 30mm main cannons and .50 caliber heavy machine guns.
The acquisition of these FAIC-Ms is among the 2019 projects approved by former President Rodrigo Duterte under the Horizon 2 List of the AFP Modernization Program.
The notice of award for the FAIC-M project, worth around PHP10 billion, was issued on January 5, 2021.
These are expected to replace PN’s medium-sized patrol craft. Once deliveries of the FAIC-Ms are completed, these vessels can interdict surface threats and launch NLOS missiles safely using the surrounding littoral areas as maneuver space and cover.
Earlier, PN chief Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. said the Navy is planning to acquire at least 15 more Israel-made Shaldag Mark V missile boats, which are the basis of its Acero-class patrol gunboats.
He said the additional Acero-class gunboats would help them to meet their requirements in “patrolling the seas of the country”. (PNA)