Philippine Navy commissions 2 new fast attack ships

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2022 04:08 PM | Updated as of Nov 28 2022 06:32 PM

The newly commissioned BRP Nestor Acero, one of the Philippine Navy's two recently-acquired fast attack interdiction craft missiles. Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News
The newly commissioned BRP Nestor Acero, one of the Philippine Navy's two recently-acquired fast attack interdiction craft missiles. Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Philippine Navy formally commissioned on Monday two recently acquired fast attack interdiction craft-missiles (FAIC-Ms) vessels named after Medal of Valor awardees.

Shortly after the commissioning ceremony presided by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, the BRP Nestor Acero (PG901) and BRP Lolinato To-ong (PG902) were sent off and deployed to their place of assignment.

“We are still discussing where they will be deployed, but most likely, priority areas are in the West Philippine Sea and Southern Philippines. But we have no final decision yet as to the exact place of deployment,” Philippine Navy Flag Officer In Command Rear Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. told reporters after the ceremony at the Naval Station Jose Andrada in Manila.

The two FAIC-Ms were delivered by Israeli shipbuilder Israel Shipyards Ltd. last September.

The newly commissioned BRP Lolinato To-ong, one of the Philippine Navy's two recently-acquired fast attack interdiction craft missiles. Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News
The newly commissioned BRP Lolinato To-ong, one of the Philippine Navy's two recently-acquired fast attack interdiction craft missiles. Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

The ships are the first two of nine acquired by the Department of National Defense (DND) with a budget of P10 billion inclusive of missile and weapon systems.

They are named after the late Private First Class Nestor Acero and First Lieutenant Lolinato To-ong, both Philippine Marine Corps heroes and Medal of Valor recipients.

Four more units are slated to be delivered beginning next year while the remaining three will be constructed at the Philippine Navy shipyard in Naval Station Pascual Ledesma, Cavite City.

“The last three boats shall be assembled in Cavite City… What they’re doing is they are trying to rehabilitate this old facility to make it a modern one and designed for these types of vessels. In that way, our people can learn from them [Israel] how they do it and how they maintain these Acero-class boats,” Adaci said.

The navy chief added that they were planning to acquire 15 more Acero-class patrol gunboats or Shaldag Mark Five fast patrol craft.

“We are planning to get 15 additional Acero-class boats on top of these 9,” he said. “It’s a proposal from us that would meet our requirements for patrolling the seas of the country.”

The FAIC-Ms have a displacement of about 95 tons, a maximum speed of above 40 knots and a range of 1,000 nautical miles.

These 32-meter high-speed vessels are equipped with quick intercept ability, remote stabilized weapons and short-range missiles that are capable of delivering precision strikes against larger hostiles and high-value targets on land and sea.

“Basically, these vessels are to be assigned with the Littoral Combat Force,” Adaci explained.

“It is designed for non-line-of-sight missiles. These Shaldag Mark Five patrol craft, when fitted with a missile system, can have a range of approximately 32 kilometers and it can be fired indirectly, so it’s a non-line-of-sight capable system. Even if the target is on the other side of the mountain, you can still hit the target as long as target acquisition is accurate,” he concluded.

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