PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is confident that the newly acquired surface-to-air missile (SAM) system by the Philippine Navy (PN) will boost the country’s warfare capabilities.

Marcos on Friday, May 19, 2023, witnessed the SAM capability demonstration and missile test firing aboard the BRP Davao del Sur (LD 602) in San Antonio, Zambales.

The test firing of the Mistral 3 SAM fitted on the guided missile frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF151).

It destroyed a drone that served as a mock target based on a scenario where the FF151 detects an unmanned aerial hostile.

Marcos said the SAM system is a “game-changer.”

“With the fluid security situation in our region, it is imperative that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and of course the Navy is substantially equipped, trained and always on alert to respond to any and all exigencies that may confront our nation. It is for this prime reason that we exert a continuous effort to strengthen the capacity of our Armed Forces,” he said.

“We are now working on horizon three of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) modernization program. As we do so, let us likewise ensure parallel training and capacity building for our personnel, especially for those who would actually operate and maneuver these major naval assets and with the backing of their highly technical training,” he added.

The Mistral 3 SAM, which is among the primary weapons of the Jose Rizal-Class (BRP Jose Rizal or the FF150), has a 90-millimeter high-explosive warhead, a range of more than three nautical miles and a speed of 2.7 Mach.

It was acquired through the PN Frigate Acquisition Project Lot 2B awarded to MBDA missile systems based in France with a budget of around P670 million.

The AW159 anti-submarine warfare naval helicopter was also showcased during the event through the utilization of its Compact-Flash dipping sonar and the BlueShark torpedo to detect, locate and neutralize stealthy submarines.

PN Chief Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. said these equipment will be a boost, especially in air defense, electronic warfare and vessel survivability, which are “vital in navigating the evolving security challenges in our maritime environment.”

“These demonstrations also represent two things; first, it is a testament to the tireless efforts of the men and women of the team navy, whose dedication, professionalism and sacrifice form the bedrock of our naval force,” Adaci said.

“Second, the acquisition of these cutting-edge technologies and defense systems embodies our government’s support and commitment to equipping the Philippine Navy with the necessary tools to face any challenges that may arise,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)