Spike-ER missile live-fire exercise ‘impressive’: DND chief

ON BOARD THE BRP DAVAO DEL SUR Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana described as "impressive" the Philippine Navy's (PN) newly-acquired and installed Rafael Advanced Defense, Ltd. Spike-ER (extended range) surface-to-surface missile system, whose capabilities were successfully demonstrated during a live-fire exercise off Lamao Point, Limay, Bataan on Wednesday morning.

"Impressive. Not one (missile) round was wasted," Lorenzana said in Filipino.

In the exercise, three Spike-ER-armed multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC) engaged three surface targets, with a remote-controlled .50-caliber machinegun fire, and two missile rounds, sinking them in the maneuvers.

The defense chief said this is no mean feat, considering that the seas were quite rough at the time.

An AgustaWestland AW-109 attack helicopter armed with 2.75-inch high-explosive rockets also participated in the exercise by firing its weapons.

"(Modern) technology has come to the Navy and we will use this technology to protect our seas," Lorenzana said, adding that accuracy is needed, considering that Spike-ER missiles and other sophisticated weapons are "quite expensive."

A single Spike-ER missile round costs about PHP10 million.

PN flag officer-in-command, Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, said use of the MPACs is under their "swarming doctrine", under which they will be utilized to engage larger and more capable ships posing a threat to the country's waters.

He also clarified that the Spike-ER-armed MPACs are defense systems and not meant for offense.

The first test-firing of the Spike-ER missile took place in the same location last August 9.

The weapon was fired from one of the Navy's three Spike-ER-armed MPACs. The MPACs were constructed by the Subic-based Propmech Corp. and activated on May 22, 2017.

The PN MPAC Acquisition Project entered into a contract with Rafael, through SIBAT of Israel's Ministry of Defense, for the supply and integration of the weapons systems to three Mark III MPACs.

On April 15, 2017, Lorenzana approved the Notice to Proceed. The Spike-ER system, which arrived in the country last April, is the Navy's first missile weapon capable of penetrating 1,000-mm (39-inch) rolled homogeneous armor and has a range of 8 km. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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