The country is virtually trading its gun boats for missile frigates.
And this would be a game changer for the Philippine Navy whose main onboard weapons are cannons and machine guns as its vessell patrol, guard, and defend the country’s maritime territories.
The installation of missiles and modern navigational equipment would bring the PN closer to the modern stature of regional naval forces in Southeast Asia.
And this is a strong and powerful deterrent to pirates, smugglers, terrorists, and other rogue elements that threaten civilian and commercial navigation.
Aside from the newly-delivered Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Spike-ER missiles, PN ships would be soon armed with torpedoes and with bigger and longer range surface-to-surface missiles.
This was bared by PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Roberto Empedrad over the weekend.
He added that the acquisition of such advanced weapons is needed as naval warfare has become "missile-based".
Empedrad also stressed that the PN cannot continue to rely on ships armed with old armaments as it would solidly be left behind and outgunned by its other counterparts.
"Naval warfare is becoming 'missile-based' and we cannot afford to be left out and we cannot afford to just use an old capability (guns) mounted on our old ships. We have to grow as a Navy," the PN chief noted.
Empedrad said the acquisition of the Spike-ER missiles, which is now being installed at three multi-purpose attack crafts, is just the start.
While this is going on, the PN chief said they are also studying the doctrine on how to use and where to deploy these missile-armed MPACs. The Spike-ER surface-to-surface missiles along with its launchers arrived during the third week of April.
These missiles are capable of penetrating 1,000 mm of rolled homogeneous armor and has a range of eight kilometers. As of this posting, the Navy has nine MPACs in inventory with another three units planned.
Three of the above-mentioned craft are now being fitted with the Spike-ER missiles and its launchers.
These naval craft were activated in May 22, 2017 and were manufactured by Subic-based Propmech Corporation for PHP270 million.