PH Navy to commission 2 Israeli missile boats in March

By Priam Nepomuceno

February 27, 2024, 5:30 pm

<p>PN spokesperson Commander John Percie Alcos <em>(PNA photo by Priam Nepomuceno)</em></p>

PN spokesperson Commander John Percie Alcos (PNA photo by Priam Nepomuceno)

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) on Tuesday announced that it would commission two fast attack interdiction craft (FAIC) equipped with the Israeli-made Spike NLOS (non-line of sight) missiles this March.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), PN spokesperson Commander John Percie Alcos confirmed that these FAICs have bow number 906 and 907.

"The newly-delivered FAICs, these are equipped with NLOS capabilities. (They will be commissioned) next month," he added.

Asked if the ships will have the chance to test fire their weapons, Alcos said they have to check with the "TIAC (technical inspection and acceptance committee) team if a test firing will be conducted."

The PN received the two FAICs, also known as the Acero-class gunboats from Israel on Nov. 18, 2023.

The gunboats were delivered through the general cargo ship Kogra Royal and are now at the Commodore East Posadas Wharf in Cavite City for enhancement, maintenance, and training.

The platforms will be commissioned as PG-906 and PG-907 under the Acero-class patrol vessels of the Fleet’s Littoral Combat Force.

The delivery is part of the FAIC Acquisition Project of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP) Horizon 2 contracted with Israel Shipyards, which includes a total of nine platforms, and the transfer of technology to bolster the PN shipbuilding capability.

With the delivery and pending commissioning of PG-906 and PG-907, the PN now has six Acero-class gunboats.

The first two Acero-class gunboats, BRP Nestor Acero (PG-901) and BRP Lolinato To-Ong (PG-902) were delivered in September 2022 and commissioned in November of the same year.

The third and fourth FAICs, BRP Gener Tinangag (PG-903) and BRP Domingo Deluana (PG-905) were delivered in April and commissioned the following month. The remaining three Acero-class gunboats are expected to be constructed and delivered within the next two years.

Four of the FAICs will be armed with 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 the FAICs is among the 2019 projects approved by former president Rodrigo Duterte under the Horizon 2.

The notice of award for the FAIC project, worth around PHP10 billion, was issued on Jan. 5, 2021.

Anti-sub chopper test fires weapon system

Also on Tuesday, the PN announced that the .50 caliber weapon system projected to be fitted on the AW-159 anti-submarine warfare helicopters was test-fired at the Marine Base Gregorio Lim firing range in Ternate, Cavite on Monday.

"Said test firing was an essential part of the inspection conducted by the AFP Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC) led by Western Command Chief, Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos," Alcos said.

Officials from the Procurement System Office of the Department of National Defense; Naval Air Wing commander, Commodore Juario Marayag; representatives from PN’s Office for Plans and Programs; and project proponents from Leonardo United Kingdom witnessed the inspection.

The AW-159 "Wildcat" helicopter, a British license-built multi-role military helicopter developed by Leonardo UK, is a significant addition to the PN’s maritime air assets and an integral part of the Jose Rizal class anti-submarine frigate's firepower.

The acquisition of these helicopters is a crucial capability upgrade for the PN, enhancing its anti-submarine and maritime security operations capabilities.

The inclusion of the .50 caliber heavy machine gun further enhances the aircraft's mission capabilities, providing the AFP with a potent weapon system to combat potential threats in the maritime domain. (PNA)