THE Philippine Navy announced on Monday said it would mount its first missile system on three of its brand new multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) by Christmas time.

Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, the Philippine Navy chief, said there would be a pre-delivery inspection of the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.’s Spike ER (extended range) missile systems from Israel on the Philippine Navy’s MPACs.

“A pre-delivery inspection is already scheduled. Then a [Philippine] Air Force plane will go to Israel to transport the missiles to the Philippines. All expenses paid by the proponent,” Mercado told reporters in a text message.

He added that the tentative fitting of the missile system would be in December.

The missile system is capable of penetrating 1,000 millimeters or 39 inches of rolled homogeneous armor and has a maximum range of five miles. Its missile weapons are on anti-ship mode, which means it can engage surface-level targets.

It was purchased by the government for P270 million.

The three MPAC ships were activated last May 22. Their hull numbers are BA-488, BA-489 and BA-490.

The MPAC are Mark III models, which are more advanced compared with the six Mark I and II currently in the Philippine Navy’s inventory.

The contract for these ships, which includes mission-essential equipment, is also worth P270 million. The funds were sourced from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act Trust Fund of 2000.

Mission-essential equipment include day-and-night electronic navigation systems, communication suites, safety-of-life-at-sea, propulsion systems, and seamanship and ship-handling gears.