MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN)'s capability to defend the country's key sea lines of communications (SLOCs) such as Mindoro, Balabac, Sibutu, and Basilan Straits against conventional threats will get a boost with the forthcoming arrival of fast-attack interdictor craft missile (FAIC-M) boats it has acquired.
Navy chief, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo made this remark as he confirmed that the three of a total of eight fast-attack interdictor craft missile (FAIC-M) boats it has acquired are scheduled to be delivered in the first quarter of 2022.
"Confirmed. The first three platforms will be delivered in 2022 already," PN chief, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday when asked for updates.
This came after shipbuilding firm Israel Shipyards released a statement saying it has awarded a contract to supply Shaldag Mark V fast patrol boats to an Asian country.
While operating in restricted waters, these boats can interdict surface threats and launch non-line-of-sight (NLOS) missiles safely using the surrounding littoral areas as maneuver space and cover.
"The FAIC-M will be deployed initially in the Mindanao AORs (area-of-responsibility) where there is continuous operations against LTGs (local terrorist groups) and CTGs (communist terrorist groups) These platforms are best suited operating in these environments to act as an effective deterrent not only against the terrorist groups but also against other lawless elements operating in the littoral areas," he added.
Four of the FAIC-Ms will be armed with 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.
Bacordo said all documents regarding the FAIC-M acquisition project were signed earlier this year.
"The FAIC Project Contract was signed on 09 February 2021 while the Notice To Proceed was signed by the SND (Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana) on 27 April 2021," he added.
The Notice of Award was issued last January 4. The project, which consists of two lots, is worth around PHP10 billion.
Lot 1 consists of the acquisition of the naval platforms and the 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.
Bacordo earlier said successful negotiations with the Israeli shipbuilder resulted in the addition of one Shaldag Mark V unit to the eight boats initially ordered without any extra cost to the Philippine government.
The FAIC-Ms is expected to replace the force of patrol killer medium (PKM) or medium-sized patrol craft.
The Shaldag Mark V is a combat-proven, all-aluminum, light, and fast vessel with high payload capacity, providing exceptional maneuverability and seakeeping.
Delivering a high firepower-to-displacement ratio, it is designed to operate in naval security missions and can efficiently protect exclusive economic zones and littoral waters. (PNA)