The Philippine Navy (PN) will receive three of a total of 8 fast-attack interdictor craft missile (FAIC-M) boats in early 2022 from Israel Shipyards in a deal worth around PHP10 billion ($503 million).
PN chief, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo confirmed that three of a total of eight fast-attack interdictor craft missile (FAIC-M) boats, in two lots are scheduled to be delivered starting the first quarter of 2022, Philippines News agency reported.
This came after Israel Shipyards released a statement saying it has awarded a contract to supply Shaldag Mark V fast patrol boats to an Asian country. These boats can interdict surface threats and launch non-line-of-sight (NLOS) missiles.
Four of the FAIC-Ms will be armed with NLOS missiles with pinpoint accuracy and a range of 25 kilometers while the other four will be armed with machine guns and light automatic cannons.
"The FAIC-M will be deployed initially in the Mindanao AORs (area-of-responsibility) where there is continuous operations against terrorist groups. These platforms are best suited operating in these environments to act as an effective deterrent not only against the terrorist groups but also against other lawless elements operating in the littoral areas," the Navy Chief is quoted as saying.
The budget of PHP10 billion will be consumed in 2 lots. Lot 1 consists of the acquisition of the naval platforms and the upgrade of the Cavite Naval Shipyard while Lot 2 is focused on the acquisition of the weapons system of these FAIC-Ms which include remotely-controlled gun and missile systems.
The FAIC-Ms is expected to replace the existing force of medium-sized patrol craft.
Separately, President Rodrigo Duterte has told China in a televised address that the Philippines will continue conducting maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) amid Beijing’s incursions into the disputed waters. China’s fishing boats, which the Philippines suspect are armed and are intruding into what Manila claims as its exclusive economic zone.