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Philippine Navy marks first firing of missile at a naval exercise

The Philippine Navy has fired a missile at a naval exercise for the first time.

The milestone was achieved on 28 October when the service's eighth multipurpose attack craft (MPAC) with pennant number 489 fired a Spike-ER surface-to-surface missile. The weapon was deployed against a simulated floating target as part of the five-day Exercise ‘Pagsisikap' 2021.

It was conducted about 17.8 n miles southwest off Salkulakit Island. The missile successfully hit its target from a distance of about 4 km, said the Philippine Navy's Naval Forces Western Mindanao command in a statement on 30 October.

The Philippine Navy operates a fleet of 12 19-tonne MPACs that were commissioned between 2009 and 2019. The vessels resemble the Swedish Combat Boat 90. Each vessel is powered by two Caterpillar C32 engines, propelled by Hamilton waterjets, and can attain a top speed of 45 kt.

The eighth, ninth, and tenth vessels in the class are equipped with Rafael's Typhoon MLS ER launchers for the Spike-ER missile, and Mini Typhoon 12.7 mm remote-controlled weapon systems. A sea acceptance test firing of the system was carried out with representatives from Rafael Defense Systems in August 2018.

The Spike-ER has an effective range of 8 km, and up to four missiles can be accommodated on the launcher turret. It is capable of penetrating 1,000 mm of rolled homogeneous armour, said the Philippine Navy in its statement on the exercise.

Besides the missile firing from 489, the service also deployed its first-of-class strategic sealift vessel, BRP Tarlac , to Exercise ‘Pagsisikap' 2021. The vessel carried out an amphibious landing exercise that involved two landing craft and two amphibious assault vehicles.

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