The Philippine Navy’s (PN) capability to build its own warships, especially the small and hard-hitting fast-attack interdictor craft missile (FAIC-M), gained major headway after Israel Shipyards Ltd. transferred the documents and keys of a newly refurbished shipyard in Cavite to its possession on Tuesday.
A statement issued by Navy spokesman Capt. Benjo Negranza on Wednesday said that Israel Shipyards Ltd. has already given the keys and papers of the newly renovated Naval Station Pascual Ledesma, which is located in Cavite City, to Navy officials.
The Israeli contractor will build the three FAIC-M at the renovated shipyard, while four of the vessels will be constructed in Israel.
In October last year, Israel Shipyards has delivered two of the vessels to the Philippine Navy, which christened them into its service in November also last year.
The nine FAICs were secured through a P10-billion contract and formed part of the capability upgrade of the Navy under the overall modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“The newly refurbished naval shipyard will facilitate the local construction of the three FAIC-M vessels, which will form part of the fleet of PN’s Acero-class Patrol Gunboats. Its formal handover ceremony is lined up this May as part of the Navy’s pre-anniversary activities,” Negranza said in his statement.
“This marks a significant milestone for the ship-building capability of the PN and likewise boosts the country’s Self-Reliant Defense Posture Program (SRDP), one of the current 10-point agenda of the Department of National Defense,” he added.
Four of the FAICs will be armed with non-line-of-sight (NLOS) missiles that have a range of 25 kilometers while the other five will be armed with 30mm main cannons and .50 caliber machine guns.
The missile-capable or armed Israeli-made attack craft will replace all of the Navy’s gunboats, which the military already decommissioned, owing to their status as vintage or World War II-era warships.
Negranza said the keys and document on the refurbished shipyard were transferred by Israel Shipyards Ltd. Marketing Director Noam Katsav to the commander of Naval Shipyard for Initial Operation and Sustainment Captain Nestor Galindo.
Last year, Navy chief Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. said they were considering to acquire 15 additional vessels of such type in their continuing effort to build the Navy’s capability.
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