The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has taken delivery of the country’s first ever Mistral 3 surface-to-air missiles (SAM).

The procurement and delivery of the missiles, which took place at the Subic Bay International Airport in Bataan on 8 October, is part of the Philippine Navy Frigate Acquisition Project Lot 2B.

The project was awarded to France-based MBDA Missile Systems.

The weapons will be installed on the Philippine Navy’s two missile-capable Jose Rizal-class frigates, BRP Jose Rizal (FF150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF151).

With the new anti-air warfare capability, the frigates will be able to perform their maritime operations efficiently.

Mistral 3 is one of the primary weapons of FF150 and FF151.

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AFP spokesperson Army colonel Ramon Zagala was quoted by the Philippine News Agency as saying that the Mistral 3 ‘will give the Philippine Navy (PN) a much-needed defensive capability against hostile air targets’.

He said: “With Republic Act 10349 or the Revised AFP Modernization Program signed in 2012, the AFP was able to acquire new assets that are vital in the performance of our mandate as protector of the people and the state.”

The Philippine Navy Frigate Acquisition Lot 2A is scheduled for deliveries in March next year.

BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna are capable of surface, sub-surface, air, and electronic warfare operations using advanced electronic sensors, long-range missiles, acoustic guided torpedoes.

BRP Jose Rizal was delivered in May last year. The warship was commissioned in July of the same year.

BRP Antonio Luna was commissioned in March this year.