The Philippine Navy will conduct the first test fire of its Spike-ER surface-to-surface missile in July, according to Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad.
Empedrad said President Rodrigo Duterte would like to witness the test fire.
“(This) July, we might be testing our very first missile aboard our small ships, (the) MPACs (multi-purpose assault crafts where the weapon is now being fitted). The President would like to see that testing,” he said in an interview with military-run radio DWDD Wednesday.
MPAC, a type of fast assault craft developed for the Philippine Navy, is designed to transport troops at a high speed and land them on the beach.
Empedrad said he hopes the test will be successful as it will allow the Navy to acquire more ships with missile capability.
“We’re hoping that we will be able to successfully test it and if the testing turns out good, then we will acquire more ships with missile capability,” he said.
The Philippine Navy’s Spike-ER missiles with their launchers and tracking systems were delivered to the Philippines from Israel last April.
Meanwhile, as the Philippine Navy acquires new and more sophisticated assets, including surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes, Empedrad noted the need to establish protocols and technical working groups to ensure that Navy officers and ratings are capable of operating such equipment which are valued at millions of pesos.
“We want engineers, we want computer experts, and we want people who can operate and maintain weapon system, which we will have for the first time,” he said.
Empedrad added that the military assets must also be secured since one missile costs P10 million while the torpedoes, the big surface-to-surface missile cost P100 million each.
“That’s why securing the big ticket equipment is also as important as acquiring them,” the Navy chief stressed.#