Philippines to deploy its first missile-firing assault vessels

The Philippines will deploy its first-ever missile-firing assault vessels in about three months, likely for territorial defense, anti-insurgency strikes and deterrence, the country's navy chief said Thursday. Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said that the navy also plans to acquire torpedoes, submarines and other major defense equipment under a modernization program. It would bolster the security of an archipelago with one of the world’s longest coastlines and help combat piracy and other cross-border crimes, AP reported. The Israeli-made missiles, which have a range of 8km, are being installed in three multipurpose attack vessels which were acquired previously. The minister declined to say how many of the surface-to-surface missiles, called Spike ER, the navy has obtained from Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.