The Philippine Navy (PN) has officially commissioned two new fast-attack interdictor craft-missile (FAIC-M) vessels to boost the country’s maritime defence capabilities.
The vessels include BRP Gener Tinangag (PG-903) and Domingo Deluana (PG-905).
The two ships were inducted during a ceremony at Commodore Divino Pier, PN headquarters in Naval Station Jose Andrada, Roxas Boulevard, Manila, on 26 May.
This event, which also marked PH Navy’s 125th anniversary, was attended by Philippine President and commander in chief Ferdinand R Marcos Jr.
Marcos said: “Considering the changing tides of our national security and the significant gaze that we have made in terms of internal security; our Armed Forces is working to recalibrate its focus more towards external defence of our borders.”
The newly commissioned vessels were christened on 8 May at the Naval Shipbuilding Facility Wharf, Fort San Felipe in Cavite City.
With commissioning of PG-903 and PG-905, the total number of FAIC-M boats in the PN fleet becomes four.
The first two vessels, including BRP Nestor Acero (PG-901) and BRP Lolinato To-Ong (PG-902), were commissioned by the Navy in December last year.
The boats of this class, also known as Shaldag Mk V or Acero-class Patrol Gunboat, are being constructed by Israel Shipyards as part of PN’s FAIC-M project, which was approved in 2019 under the Horizon II list of the revised AFP modernisation programme.
Valued at approximately $178.2m (PHP10bn), this project involves delivery of a total of nine boats.
As per a Philippines News agency report, the first four FAIC-M vessels will be equipped with ‘non-line-of-sight (NLOS) missiles’ having pinpoint accuracy, while the remaining five will feature typhoon-mounted 30mm main cannons and .50 calibre heavy machine guns.
PN spokesperson commander Benjo Negranza said: “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-m long gunboats will provide added muscle to the Navy’s capability to secure the seas with their quick intercept ability, remote stabilised weapons, and short-range missiles.”