ON BOARD THE BRP DAVAO DEL SUR -- The Philippine Navy (PN) is now on the upgrade with the successful capability demonstration of its newly-acquired and installed Rafael Advanced Defense Ltd. Spike-ER (extended range) surface-to-surface missile system during a live-fire exercise off Lamao Point in Limay, Bataan on Wednesday morning.
This was the message highlighted by the event's successful conclusion, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters during a press conference aboard the BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602).
"(The) message to our people (is) that our Navy is also improving, at par with what’s happening in the neighborhood. Kung tignan natin sa mga kapitbahay natin, tayo na lang nahuhuli talaga (If we are to be compared with our neighbors, we are lagging behind). The message to Filipino people, is itong inyong Navy nag-iimprove na (that your Navy is improving), acquiring more equipment and other assets so that we will have (the) capability to control our maritime territory," he added.
Lorenzana also emphasized that the Spike-ER armed multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC) will also deter poachers from encroaching in Philippine territorial waters due to its deterrence capabilities.
In the exercise, three Spike-ER armed multi-purpose assault craft (MPACs) engaged three surface targets first with remote-controlled .50-caliber machinegun fire and two missile rounds, sinking them in the maneuvers.
An AgustaWestland AW-109 attack helicopter armed with 2.75-inch high-explosive rockets also participated in the exercise by firing its weapons.
"(Modern) technology has come to the Navy and we will use this technology to protect our seas," the DND chief emphasized. And accuracy is needed considering that Spike-ER missiles and other sophisticated weapons are "quite expensive".
A single Spike-ER missile round costs an estimated PHP10 million.
The first test-firing of the Spike-ER missile took place last Aug. 9 in the same location.
The weapon was fired from one of the PN's three Spike-ER armed MPACs.
The MPACs were constructed by the Subic-based Propmech Corporation and activated on May 22, 2017.
The PN MPAC Acquisition Project entered into a contract with Rafael, through SIBAT of Israel Ministry of Defense, for the supply and integration of the weapons systems to three Mark III MPACs.
On April 15, 2017, Lorenzana approved the Notice to Proceed.
The Spike-ER system, which arrived in the country last April, is the PN's first missile weapon capable of penetrating 1,000-mm (39 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor and has a range of eight kilometers. (PNA)