VESSEL REVIEW | Nestor Acero – Philippine Navy welcomes missile-capable attack boats into service

Photo: Israel Shipyards

The Philippine Navy recently took delivery of the first two examples of a new class of missile-capable fast attack interdiction craft (FAIC) built by Israel Shipyards based in Haifa.

The all-aluminium vessels have been christened BRP Nestor Acero and BRP Lolinato To-ong after two Philippine Marine Corps personnel who were posthumously awarded the Medal for Valor, the Philippine armed forces’ highest combat decoration. A total of nine Acero-class FAICs will be supplied to the Philippine Navy for operation in littoral and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) waters, and this number also includes four vessels that will be built at the navy’s own Cavite Naval Yard facilities in Cavite City some 16 kilometres south of Manila.

The Philippine Navy FAICs are variants of the Shaldag-class patrol boats that are being built by Israel Shipyards for the Israeli Navy and export customers. Specifically, the Philippine vessels are examples of the Shaldag Mark V variant, which was designed to be the largest member in the Shaldag family to allow for greater carrying capacities while guaranteeing extended range and improved seakeeping.

Photo: Philippine Navy

The Acero-class boats will also replace the Tomas Batilo-class patrol craft, which were transferred to the Philippines following service with the South Korean Navy in the mid-1990s.

The FAICs each have an LOA of 32.65 metres, a beam of 6.2 metres, a displacement of approximately 95 tonnes at full load, and space for 12 crewmembers. Two diesel engines will propel each vessel to a maximum speed of 43 knots while a range of 1,600 nautical miles can be achieved at a cruising speed of 15 knots. Their endurance make the FAICs ideal for extended patrols within the Philippines’ EEZ.

Each vessel’s armament consists of a Bushmaster 30mm autocannon, two M2 Browning 12.7mm machine guns, and M60 7.62mm general purpose machine guns. The autocannon and the 12.7mm machine guns are mounted on Rafael Typhoon remote weapon stations while the 7.62mm guns are manually operated.

Space is also available for up to eight Rafael Spike NLOS anti-ship missiles that can strike targets up to 25 kilometres away. However, only four FAICs will carry missiles as part of their standard loadout, hence their FAIC-M designation.

The FAICs each have a Furuno radar and deck space for a 4.2-metre rigid inflatable boat (RIB) to assist in at-sea boardings and interceptions.

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on maritime security vessels.

BRP Nestor Acero & BRP Lolinato To-ong
Type of vessel:Fast attack interdiction craft
Owner:Philippine Navy
Builder:Israel Shipyards
Hull construction material:Aluminium
Superstructure construction material:Aluminium
Deck construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:32.65 metres
Beam:6.2 metres
Displacement:95 tonnes
Main engines:2
Maximum speed:43 knots
Cruising speed:15 knots
Range:1,600 nautical miles
Armaments:Bushmaster 30mm autocannon; 2 x M2 Browning 12.7mm machine guns; 2 x M60 7.62mm machine guns; 8 x Rafael Spike NLOS anti-ship missiles
Tender:Rigid inflatable boat
Type of fuel:Diesel
Operational area:Philippines’ EEZ

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