The Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) concluded in Zamboanga City on Saturday, October 30, its four-day drill that was highlighted by a missile test on the waters off Basilan.
The Navy test-launched a Spike Extended Range (ER) missile from a multipurpose attack craft of the 3rd Boat Attack Division 17.8 nautical miles southwest off Salkulakit Island in Basilan province on Thursday, October 28, confirmed Lieutenant Senior Grade Chester Ross Cabaltera, NFWM spokesman.
“The missile hit its floating target dead center from a distance of 4 kilometers,” Cabaltera said.
Aside from the missile launch, participating warships also tested their naval guns on floating targets at sea.
Rear Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr., NFWM commander, said the drill was a test and would allow officials to assess the naval forces’ capability.
The Spike ER missile is capable of piercing through 39 inches of rolled homogeneous armor. The flexible dual guidance missile system, the Philippine Navy’s first, can hit targets at a maximum distance of 8 kilometers.
It was the second time that the missile system was tested since it was delivered to the Navy in 2018. It was, however, the first time that such a missile was test-launched during a live firing exercise.
Cabaltera said participants to the Navy exercises dubbed as Pagsisikap 2021 also demonstrated what they could do during a mock rescue mission in a burning ship.
Major General William Gonzales, Task Force Sulu commander, said he was looking forward to joint military exercises involving all the branches of the Armed Forces. – Rappler.com
Frencie Carreon is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.