FOR the first time in history, the Philippine Navy (PN) received its surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) that the military believed would boost the country’s capability in defending its territory.
PN spokesman Cdr. Benjo Negranza on Sunday said the Mistral 3 SAMs were delivered last week at the Subic Bay International Airport. It is part of the Philippine Navy’s frigate acquisition project.
The Mistral 3 SAMs were acquired from MBDA Missile Systems which is based in France.
The SAMs will be fitted to the navy’s modern warships BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151).
“Surface-to-air missiles are among the primary weapons of FF150 and FF151 that bolsters the Philippine Navy’s anti-air warfare capability,” Negranza said in a statement.
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“The arrival of these missiles will greatly capacitate our [Jose Rizal-class] frigates in the conduct of their maritime operations,” he added.
The navy did not say how many missiles it received for security reasons.
“These are game changers as part of our frigate acquisition [program],” Negranza told reporters on Sunday.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala hailed the arrival of the missiles, saying it will provide the Philippine Navy a much-needed defensive capability against hostile air targets.
Under Republic Act 10349 or the “Revised AFP Modernization Program of 2012,” the Philippine military acquired new assets that are vital in the performance of our mandate as protector of the people and the state, Zagala said.
“The procurement of missile systems is cost-effective and a reliable addition to a layered defense system, capable of denying enemy intrusion and deterring future attacks by external threats,” he added.