Philippine Navy frigates to be armed with missile systems
The Philippine Navy has reportedly confirmed plans to install missile systems on two of its frigates.
BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz will be equipped with the systems to extend their patrolling potential.
Philippine Navy spokesperson colonel Edgard Arevalo was quoted by the Philippine Star as saying: "It will help a lot in providing the deterrence we need. It will act as a force multiplier.
"We have a limited number of vessels. Our patrolling reach is comparatively limited so if we have a missile system, it will elevate our capability.
"It will aid us in protecting our vast and porous borders."
Acquired from the US Coast Guard (USCG) in 2011, BRP del Pilar has a 25mm Bushmaster auto-cannon, in addition to a 76mm Oto Melara cannon and machine guns.
BRP Alcaraz was transferred from the USCG in 2012 and is equipped with the Oto Melara cannon, which its main weapons system. Plans are in place to arm the vessel with a Bushmaster auto-cannon, a .50 calibre machine gun and M60 light machine gun.
Prior to being transferred to the Philippine Navy, both vessels were deployed in drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, and living marine resources protection, as well as defence readiness missions.
The Philippine defence department is planning to procure two more frigates worth $344m and ammunition worth $55.6m.
The country is also awaiting the delivery of other equipment worth $142m, including tactical sealift vessels, additional naval helicopters and small amphibian vehicles.