PH Navy unveils first pair of fast-attack boats in Israel

Published June 28, 2022, 5:58 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine Navy (PN) will soon add two brand new units of fast-attack interdiction craft (FAICs) in its growing fleet.

The crew of the future BRP Lolinato To-Ong pose for a photo op during the launch of two new fast-attack interdiction craft of the Philippine Navy in Haifa, Israel on June 26, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

The two FAICs – the Navy’s first pair of small but agile, offensive, and missile-equipped vessels – were launched at the port of Israel Shipyards Limited in Haifa, Israel last June 26, according to Commander Benjo Negranza, PN spokesperson.

“The acquisition of the new craft is the latest in the Philippine Navy’s pursuit to become a modern and multi-capable naval force, responsible for protecting our maritime nation’s sovereignty,” he said in a statement on Monday night, June 27.

The launching of the FAICs was a prelude to the ongoing conduct of its pre-delivery inspection until June 30. It is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The ceremony was attended by the future crew members of the FAICs, one of which will be called BRP Lolinato To-Ong, named after a Marine officer who was a recipient of the coveted Medal of Valor.

The team was led by Commodore Alfonso Torres Jr., chairperson of the pre-delivery inspection team, and Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, chairperson of the project management team of the FAIC Acquisition Project.

“This project enables the Philippine Navy to make a ‘leap-frog’ approach in strengthening our littoral defense capability in the areas of warfare, sustainment, and technical knowledge,” Torres Jr. said.

He thanked Israel for “paving the way” for the realization of the acquisition of the Navy’s first FAICs and the complete transfer of its technology which is “a first of its kind in our defense cooperation.”

The launch was also attended by Eyal Califf, Director of Israel’s Ministry of Defense’s Directorate for International Defense Cooperation (IMOD-SIBAT) for Asia and the Pacific; Sammy Katsav, Chairman of the Board of Israel Shipyards, Ltd.; and Ran Tavor, Director of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.’s Naval Division.

The FAIC Acquisition Project was approved by President Duterte in 2019 under the second horizon of the revised modernization program, while the project contract reportedly worth P10 billion was signed in 2021.

Under the said project, the Navy will acquire eight units of FAIC from the Israeli Shipyards Limited.