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Friday, April 19, 2024

PBBM leads commissioning of 2 missile boats during Navy’s 125th anniversary

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As it celebrated its 125th founding anniversary Friday, the Philippine Navy (PN) highlighted the occasion with the commissioning and activation of two more Israeli-made fast attack interdiction craft missile (FAIC-M) platforms.

The high-speed FAIC-Ms, which will be used by the PN in protecting the country’s littoral domains, were formally christened as the BRP Gener Tinangag (PG-903) and BRP Domingo Deluana (PG-905) during short ceremonies at the Naval Shipbuilding Facility Wharf at Fort San Felipe, Cavite City last May 8.

The FAIC-M platforms were delivered to the Navy last April 11.

Present during the PN’s 125th founding anniversary and subsequent commissioning of these two naval assets were President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Defense chief Carlito Galvez Jr., Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Andres Centino and Navy chief Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr.

Adaci, in his anniversary speech, said the PN remains committed to its transformation and modernization efforts.

“And as we embark on our transformation journey, we remain relentless in our modernization efforts. In line with this we have just commissioned the PN’s two Acero-class vessels, which symbolize the promising future of our maritime defense and efforts toward enhanced capabilities, increased resilience and stronger presence in the maritime domain,” he stressed.

Adaci also lauded the “national leader” for making the ongoing PN modernization and their continued support for the Navy’s vision of becoming a modern and multi-capable naval force.

“The celebration was made ever more momentous with the commissioning of the brand-new FAIC-M platforms—the newly christened BRP Gener Tinangag and BRP Domingo Deluana—which officially joined the fleet of the Acero-class patrol gunboat[s],” PN spokesperson Capt. Benjo Negranza said.

The namesake of these vessels are both members of the Philippine Marine Corps and awardees of the Medal of Valor like the first two FAIC-Ms who were commissioned into service last November.

These gunboats are the BRP Nestor Acero (PG-901) and BRP Lolinato To-Ong (PG-902).

The Acero-class gunboats are also known as the Israel Shipyard Ltd. Shaldag Mark V of which four are now in active service with the PN.

Five more are scheduled to be delivered within the next two years.

“These vessels will soon see action once deployed to vital choke points, major sea lines of communication, and littoral domains of the country. These 32-meter long gunboats will provide added muscle to the Navy’s capability to secure the seas with their quick intercept ability, remote stabilized weapons, and short-range missiles,” Negranza said.

He added that activation of these additional FAIC-Ms is a step closer to the completion of the nine boat contract worth P10 billion.

“Their commissioning gave more prestige to the Navy’s celebration of its 125th founding year, providing a tangible manifestation of its anniversary theme, ’Guardian of the Seas: Ensuring National Sovereignty, Security, and Stability,” Negranza said.

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 five will be armed with typhoon-mounted 30mm main cannons and .50 caliber heavy machine guns.

These ships have a displacement of 95 tons, a maximum speed of 40 knots, and a range of 1,000 nautical miles.

The acquisition of these FAIC-Ms is among the 2019 projects approved by former President Rodrigo Duterte under the Horizon 2 List of the AFP Modernization Program.

The notice of award for the FAIC-M project worth around P10 billion was issued on January 5, 2021. These are expected to replace PN’s medium-sized patrol craft fleet.

Once deliveries of the FAIC-Ms are completed, these vessels can interdict surface threats and launch NLOS missiles safely using the surrounding littoral areas as maneuver space and cover.

“Their addition to the fleet inventory is a significant step forward in the Navy’s ongoing capability upgrade towards achieving a minimum defense posture and asserting greater efficiency in the execution of its mandated task, especially with their deployment to vital choke points, key sea lines of communication, and littoral areas of the country where terrorist groups and other lawless elements are operating,” Negranza earlier said.

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