MANILA — Four of the eight fast attack interdictor craft-missiles (FAIC-M), being acquired to replace the aging maritime vessels tasked for interdiction operations, will be constructed in the Philippines.
“The FAIC-Ms are important, we will be acquiring about eight, four will be outside the Philippines and the remaining four will be constructed at our naval shipyard (in Sangley Point, Cavite). (With this, we will have the capability) in the future to build our own ships,” Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command, Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad said in an interview at Naval Station Jose Andrada in Roxas Boulevard, Manila on Wednesday.
He, however, did not identify the proponent or interested bidders for the projects.
Earlier reports said four of the eight FAIC-M will be armed with non-line of sight (NLOS) missiles with ranges up to 25 kilometers and is intended to replace eight of the PN’s patrol killer mediums (PKMs) and fast-attack crafts being used for interception missions.
PKMs are medium-sized naval patrol craft and are generally armed with machineguns and cannons up to 25mm, 30mm and 40mm in caliber.
In the PN, these vessels are designated as the “Tomas Batilo”-class patrol boats, of which four are still in active service out of the eight acquired from South Korea in 1995.
Earlier, Empedrad said President Rodrigo Duterte has given the green light for the acquisition of eight FAIC-Ms for PHP10 billion.
Formerly, these PKMs were operated by the Republic of Korea Navy and later transferred to the PN. These ships have a top speed of 33 knots and have a range of up to 600 nautical miles.
The FAIC-Ms will give the PN 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. Priam Nepomuceno / PNA – northboundasia.com