MISSILE CAPABLE. The Philippine Navy deploys one of its two newly acquired missile-capable patrol gunboats to the area of responsibility of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM), boosting the capability of the NFWM in its campaign against cross-border terrorism and kidnapping. The new gunboat, BRP-Nestor Acero, arrived Thursday (Dec. 8, 2022) at the Naval Station Romulo Espaldon which houses the NFWM headquarters in Zamboanga City. (Photo courtesy of NFWM)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) got a boost in its capability against terrorism and kidnapping with the deployment of a missile-capable gunboat on the country’s southern border.

In a statement Friday, Lt. Senior Grade Chester Ross Cabaltera, NFWM information officer, said the Philippine Navy (PN) has deployed one of the two newly-acquired missile capable gunboats, BRP-Nestor Acero (PG901), to the NFWM area of responsibility.

Capt. Dwight Steven Dulnoan, NFWM acting commander, rendered an arrival ceremony for PG901 and its crew Thursday at Ensign Majini Pier of the Naval Station Romulo Espaldon, which houses the NFWM headquarters here.

PG901, one of two PN’s Acero-class patrol gunboats, is a missile-capable Shaldag Mk. V Fast Attack Interdiction Craft Missile (FAIC-M).

Cabaltera said the 32-meter high-speed vessel is equipped with quick intercept ability, remote stabilized weapons, and short-range missiles that are capable to deliver precision strikes against larger hostiles and high-value targets on land or sea.

BRP-Nestor Acero will augment the existing NFWM fleet guarding cross-border terrorism, kidnapping, and other crimes in the southern seas.

The PN’s two Acero-class gunboats are named after Philippine Marine Corps heroes and Medal for Valor recipients, the late Pfc. Nestor F. Acero, and the late 1Lt. Lolinato G. To-ong.

The two gunboats are part of the nine FAICS-M acquired by the Philippines from Israel for PHP10 billion.

The acquisition of the FAICS-M are among the 2019 projects approved by former President Rodrigo Duterte under the Horizon 2 List of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program. (PNA)