MBDA has completed deliveries of the Mistral 3 surface-to-air missiles (SAM) for the two new Jose Rizal-class frigates of the Philippine Navy (PN). The Mistral 3 was delivered at the Subic Bay International Airport in Bataan last October 8. Procurement and delivery of the Mistral 3 SAMs is part of the PN Frigate Acquisition Project Lot 2B which was awarded to the MBDA Missile Systems based in France. With Republic Act 10349 or the Revised AFP Modernization Program signed in 2012, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was able to acquire new assets that are vital in the performance of mandate as protector of the people and the state.
The Mistral 3 SAMs will be fitted on BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) and will give the Philippine Navy (PN) a much needed defensive capability against hostile air targets. Surface-to-air missiles are among the primary weapons of FF-150 and FF-151 that bolsters the PN’s anti-air warfare capability. South Korean defense manufacturer LIG Nex 1 would deliver C-Star missiles which is considered the main surface-to-surface weapon of the JRCs. The C-Star is described as a “sea-skimming surface-to-surface anti-ship cruise missile”. The contract for the two ships was placed at PHP16 billion with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions.
The Jose Rizal class of multi-role guided missile frigates, currently in service with the Philippine Navy, are heavily modified variant of the ROK Navy’s Incheon-class frigates. The ships, which were built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), are specifically accommodated to fit the requirements of the Philippine Navy. The BRP Jose Rizal was delivered to the Philippines in May 2020 and commissioned July of the same year while the BRP Antonio Luna was commissioned on March 19, 2021. The frigates will improve the ability of the Philippine Navy’s Offshore Combat Force, which is mostly composed of ships that were retired from other countries and subsequently transferred to the Philippines.
Mistral is an infrared homing MANPADS manufactured by the European multinational company MBDA missile systems (formerly by Matra BAe Dynamics). It was initially deployed in 1988 for the first version (S1), 1997 for the second version (M2), and 2019 for the third version (Mistral 3). The two new Jose Rizal-class frigates will be armed two twin launchers for anti-aircraft missiles, with a minimum range of 6 kilometers, with IR or semi-active homing seeker; MBDA Mistral 3 missiles on MBDA Simbad-RC VSHORAD launchers. Featuring an automatic launcher remotely controlled from an interior terminal, SIMBAD-RC is ideally suited for ships with low crew numbers and for modern ship design requirements, particularly those relating to stealth and very fast craft concepts.