Navy commissions 2 more Israeli patrol gunboats; Air Force gets final batch of Turkish ‘ATAK’ helicopters

The Philippine Navy commissions BRP Herminigildo Yurong (PG906) on May 21, 2024 at the PN headquarters in Manila. (Photo courtesy of PN)

The Philippine Navy (PN) has commissioned into service two additional fast attack interdiction craft (FAICs) from Israel while the Philippine Air Force (PAF) formally accepted the final pair of T-129 ATAK helicopters from Turkey in separate ceremonies.

Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr., PN Flag Officer in Command, led the commissioning of BRP Herminigildo Yurong (PG906) and BRP Laurence Narag (PG907) at the Navy headquarters in Manila on Tuesday, May 21.

“These [craft] are indispensable assets for archipelagic defense, tailored to address unique challenges inherent to the Philippine maritime landscape. As force multipliers, these [craft] enable rapid deployment and force projection, strengthen our deterrence, and uphold maritime security across Philippine waters," he said.

The Navy chief emphasized that the acquisition of the newest missile-capable Acero-class patrol gunboats would accelerate the military's modernization efforts.

The Philippine Navy commissions BRP Laurence Narag (PG907) on May 21, 2024 at the PN headquarters in Manila. (Photo courtesy of PN)

Adaci said the commissioning of the vessels, named after Marine Medal of Valor awardees the late Staff Sgt. Herminigildo Yurong and Cpl. Laurence Narag, was a commemoration of their heroism and served as a step forward in the PN's advancement to becoming a naval force that is responsive to the defense of the nation.

The FAIC Acquisition Project of the Navy with Israel is a procurement project that started in 2019 with a P10 billion contract that includes the delivery of nine FAIC platforms. 

To date, six FAICs have already been delivered to the Navy: BRP Nestor Acero (PG-901), BRP Lolinato To-Ong (PG-902), BRP Gener Tinangag (PG-903), BRP Domingo Deluana (PG-905), BRP Herminigildo Yurong (PG906) and BRP Laurence Narag (PG907).

The remaining three platforms are to be constructed and delivered within the next two years.


Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Araus Robert Musico, commander of Air Combat Command, witnessed the formal acceptance of the final batch of T-129 ATAK helicopters in a ceremony at the Major Danilo Atienza Air Base in Cavite on May 17.

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) formally accepts into service the final pair of T-129 ATAK helicopters from Turkey on May 17, 2024 at the Major Danilo Atienza Air Base in Cavite. (Photo courtesy of PAF)

The helicopters performed a low pass before landing at the base, receiving a traditional water cannon salute. A blessing ceremony followed, marking the official entry of the T-129s into the PAF fleet. 

“These helicopters, known for their high performance in hot, high, and maritime conditions, are expected to significantly enhance the air force's combat capabilities, particularly in urban warfare scenarios,” PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said.

The two helicopters arrived in the country on Nov. 29, 2023 and underwent technical inspections before their blessing.

With this, all six T-129s purchased by the Philippines from Turkey as part of the Horizon 2 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization program have already been delivered.

The first two units arrived on March 9, 2022 while the second batch of two units arrived on November 24, 2022.