The Philippine Navy on Monday said its fast-attack interdictor craft-missile (FAIC-M) project, which seeks to acquire eight ships to replace its medium-sized patrol craft, or the force of patrol killer medium (PKM), will push through amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. Four of the FAIC-Ms will be armed with non-line-of-sight (NLOS) missiles with pinpoint accuracy with a range of 25 kilometers while the other four will be armed with machine guns and light automatic cannons. The Philippine Navy project was approved for inclusion in the Horizon 2 project list of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program and has a budget of PHP10 billion. The procurement activities will start immediately after the MYOA is approved by the Department of Budget and Management.
“FAIC-M is an acquisition project of the PN that was approved for inclusion in the Horizon 2 Projects List of Revised AFP Modernization Program with ABC (approved budget for contract) of PHP10 billion and for Multi-Year Contracting. The MYOA (Multi-Year Obligational Authority) requested is for four years with payment spread by 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent, and 40 percent each year starting 2020 and end(ing) 2023. Hence, the 10 percent (PHP1 billion) is already programmed by the DND (Department of National Defense) in the Financial Schedule for FY (Fiscal Year) 2020,” Navy public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.
With the FAIC-M, the Philippine Navy shall have the capability to defend the key sea lines of communications (SLOCs), such as Mindoro, Balabac, Sibutu and Basilan Straits against conventional threats. Operating in restricted waters, the FAIC-Ms can interdict surface threats and launch NLOS missiles safely using the surrounding littoral areas as maneuver space and cover. The Philippine Navy is eyeing to acquire eight Israeli Shipyard Ltd “Shaldag”-class patrol boats to replace the PKMs it is using for maritime interdiction operations (acquired from South Korea in 1995). The ‘Shaldag’ patrol boats will be built in Israel while the remaining four will be constructed in the PN Cavite Naval Yard in Sangley Point, Cavite City.
The Shaldag-class patrol boat (Hebrew: Kingfisher) is a small but fast class of patrol boats developed for the Israeli Navy and launched in 1989, it has since seen service with several other navies. Designed for security tasks where high intercept speeds are required, such as interdiction of terrorism and illegal smuggling. The hull is divided into six watertight compartments which meet strict international flooded damage stability criteria. The vessels are armed with a Typhoon Weapon Station, mounting a Bushmaster M242 and electro-optics systems. They are equipped with foredeck and aftdeck rings for Oerlikon 20 mm cannon and a single gun mount. The boat is able to accommodate most advanced new weapon systems, such as the rapid-fire stabilized gun mount, remotely controlled by a night vision system.