MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — The Philippine Navy unveiled Friday the its first anti-air warfare equipment, in what can be described as a major boost in the country's maritime defense and security capability, with President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. in attendance.
Marcos sat above viewing ship BRP Davao Del Sur in the waters of San Antonio, Zambales during the event that lasted for around an hour, highlighted by the test fire of the surface-to-air missile matched on BRP Antonio Luna — also known as FF150.
In a statement, the Philippine Navy said a Mistral 3 surface-to-air missile was supposed to target a drone, a simulation of what can be done if the warship detects an "unmanned aerial hostile."
Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr., the Philippine Navy flag officer-in-command, said the mock drone failed to take off during the drills and they would need to talk to their provider about the incident.
The drone was supposed to take off in San Miguel town.
"We should have fired (sic) one target, one missile... we really prepared for it because we have to test also our system. Sayang naman 'yung napakamahal na system kung hindi natin ma-testing," he told reporters.
"Kausapin muna namin 'yung provider... for the drone. During the rehearsals okay naman, but surprisingly hindi siya nakalipad."
The surface-to-air missiles have 90-millimeter high-explosive warheads, a range of more than 3 nautical miles, and speed of 2.7 Mach, based on a press release.
One missile costs around P30 million, Adaci said.
"The frigates' countermeasure, the Bullfighter chaff decoy, was also put on display during this sequence," the release said.
"They are among the primary weapons of the Jose Rizal-class multi-mission capable frigates that bolster their defensive capability against aerial hostiles," it added.
Aside from this, the Philippine Navy showcased its anti-submarine warfare naval helicopter AW159, demonstrating its Compact-FLASH dipping sonar and the BlueShark torpedo that could "detect, locate and neutralize stealthy submarine."
MARCOS: NEW WEAPONS TO STRENGTHEN PH NAVAL PRESENCE
In his speech, Marcos said the new acquisition would "further enhance our naval presence within our territorial domain."
"We set our sights on the completion and eventual commissioning of the rest of the Philippine Navy projects in the pipeline. By now, in horizons one, two, and three of the AFP modernization program," Marcos said.
Parallel training for personnel, especially those handling these assets, is. also important, he said.
For his part, Adaci said the live-fire demonstration was a "preview of the Navy's increased war-fighting capabilities especially in air defense, electronic warfare and vessel survivability."
"These modern acquisitions not only signify our readiness to defend our maritime domain but also reflect a tremendous progress we have made in reinforcing our naval force," Adaci said in his speech.
The Philippine Navy said these weapons were bought from France-based missile manufacturer MBDA Missile Systems with a budget of P670 million.