MANILA --- More capable and powerful missile weaponry are now in the pipeline for the Philippine Navy (PN) following the successful integration of Rafael Advanced Defense Ltd.'s Spike-ER (extended range) surface-to-surface missile system into the fleet.
This was revealed by Navy spokesperson Commander Jonathan Zata when asked if more sophisticated missile systems and platforms are in the offing, and whether the Spike-ER heralded the formal entry of the PN into the missile age.
"(Yes). It (Spike-ER) ushered the Navy and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to the missile age and also prepares for the forthcoming acquisition of a more sophisticated and powerful weapons systems and capabilities," Zata told the Philippine News Agency Sunday.
The Spike-ER system, which arrived in the country last April, is the PN's first missile weapon that is capable of penetrating 1,000-mm (39 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor and has a range of eight kilometers.
It was first tested in Aug. 9 off Lamao Point, Limay, Bataan and again on Nov. 21.
The weapons were installed and fired by the PN's three Mark III multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC) constructed by Subic-based Propmech Corporation.
Zata added that the PN will gain more capability to operate modern naval weaponry with the arrival of the Pohang-class frigate, donated by the Republic of Korea (ROK), next year.
"The Pohang-class frigate from ROK will also be delivered by next year equipped with a better weapons system that the Navy can already use as it prepares for the delivery of the two purposely-built frigates starting 2020," he stressed.
The Pohang-class frigate is equipped with a primary and secondary gun systems, sensors and torpedoes for anti-submarine missions as well as sensors for anti-air operations, Zata revealed.
Earlier, the PN spokesperson said their high-speed MPACS can also be utilized against large surface targets intruding into the country's territorial waters.
Zata said this is the essence of the "swarming tactic" developed by the Navy for its MPAC fleet.
In the said tactic, large numbers of MPACs will be deployed to engage large surface threats.
"(In the said tactics) numerically superior of fast, agile and missile-equipped MPACs will engage and neutralize targets," the PN spokesperson pointed.
He added that the MPACs can be also optimized for hit-and-run raids if needed.