Philippines to Acquire a total of 24 Fast Attack Missiles Ships from Israel

 Philippines to Acquire a total of 24 Fast Attack Missiles Ships from Israel

The Philippines plans to purchase 15 more Israeli-made fast gunboats on top of an existing order for nine of these vessels to modernize its arsenal and military fleets, the navy chief said on Monday.

rear admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. announced the plans after a commissioning ceremony for two of the nine vessels at Naval Station José Andrada, the Navy headquarters in Metro Manila.

"We plan to add 15 more Steel-class vessels in addition to these nine vessels," Adaci said, adding that the additional vessels "would meet our requirements to patrol our country's seas."

“We are still discussing where they will deploy, but most likely the priority areas will obviously be the western Philippine Sea and the southern Philippines,” he said, using a Filipino term for the disputed South China Sea. The two missile boats ordered on Monday, the BRP Nestor Acero and the BRP Lolinato To-Ong, were delivered two months ago. They are the first of nine Homemade Fast Attack Interdiction Missiles (FAIC-M) ordered by the Ministry of Defense under its military modernization program at a cost of 10,000 million pesos ($176.6 million). Adaci said the two vessels have "accurate, high throughput and rapid intercept capabilities that are suited to address current and emerging security threats." She added that her missiles could hit a target 32 ​​km (20 miles) away.

“You can fire (a missile) indirectly, so it's a system with no line-of-sight capability. Even if the target is on the other side of the mountain, it can still hit it as long as the target acquisition is accurate," he said.

Four of the FAIC-M boats will be armed with non-line-of-sight missiles, while the other five will be armed with Typhoon-mounted 30mm cannons and .50-caliber heavy machine guns. Three vessels will be built locally at the Pascual Ledesma Naval Station shipyard in Cavite province, south of Manila, starting in 2024.

Adasi's announcement came days after US Vice President Kamala Harris visited Palawan, an island in the country's southwest that is seen at the forefront of the Philippines' territorial dispute with China. As a military ally of the Philippines, the United States is ready to "defend international rules and standards" in the southern Chinese Sea and elsewhere, he said.

When they visited a fishing community where many rooms were harassed by "foreign ships" that enter the Philippine waters, Harris promised the help of the United States to the local coast guard. "We must uphold principles such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, unhindered legal trade, peaceful settlement of disputes, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea and throughout the Indo-Pacific," he said.

Harris reiterated that Washington supports a 2016 international arbitration ruling that rejected China's expansionary claims to the region. In the aftermath of a standoff with China that led to the 2016 ruling, the Philippines agreed to embark on a naval modernization program. The government has presented an ambitious program, including a plan to add submarines to its fleet, but that plan has recently been shelved. The Navy purchased two used US Coast Guard patrol boats and the government signed a contract for 12 F/A-50 multi-role fighters from South Korea. In July 2020, the Navy commissioned its first all-new guided missile frigate, South Korea's BRP Jose Rizal.

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