MANILA – The Notice to Proceed (NTP) for the Philippine Navy (PN)'s Fast Attack Interdiction Craft-Missile (FAIC-M) is expected to be out by mid-February.

This was confirmed by PN public affairs office chief, Commander Benjo Negranza, when asked by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on updates for the project Monday.

"The contract for the project is being finalized for subsequent signing and issuance of NTP estimated to be on mid-February this year," he said.

The FAIC-M project (also known as the Shaldag Mark 5) was already issued a Notice of Award (NOA) by the Department of National Defense (DND) last January 4.

The NOA was signed by DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as head of the procuring entity.

The project, which consists of two lots, is worth around PHP10 billion.

Lot 1 consists of acquisition of the naval platforms and upgrade of the Cavite Naval Shipyard while Lot 2 is focused on the acquisition of the weapons system of these FAIC-Ms which include remotely-controlled gun and missile systems.

"Another milestone was achieved just recently which includes the successful negotiations for the Lot 1 (Platforms) & Lot 2 (Combat Systems and Missiles) of the Fast Attack Interdiction Craft-Missile (FAIC-M) Acquisition Project. This resulted in the provisions for an additional one unit with one set of remote combat weapon systems (on top of the programmed 8 units FAIC-M) for the PN and an upgrade of the Naval Ship Yard - without additional cost to the government. Hence, the PN expects to obtain a total of nine missile-equipped FAICs in the coming years," PN chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo earlier said.

The FAIC-Ms, the Navy chief was referring to, is expected to replace the force of patrol killer medium (PKM) or medium-sized patrol craft, with deliveries expected to start in 2022.

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 four will be armed with machine guns and light automatic cannons.

With the FAIC-Ms, the PN shall have the capability to defend the key sea lines of communications (SLOCs), such as Mindoro, Balabac, Sibutu, and Basilan Straits against conventional threats.

While operating in restricted waters, the FAIC-Ms can interdict surface threats and launch NLOS missiles safely using the surrounding littoral areas as maneuver space and cover. (PNA