Knowing the Shaldag-Class Fast Patrol Boats

The Philippine Navy has a lot of surprises recently, with several acquisition projects being in the pipeline aside from the work-in-process ones such as the BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39) and the Jose Rizal-class Frigates and the recently-delivered ones such as the Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicles (KAAV-7) and the Leonardo AW-159 Antisubmarine Helicopters. It is worth mentioning that the projects in the pipeline include additional Landing Platform Docks and Corvettes which both of these procurement programs obtain at least two units and the Offshore Patrol Vessel program with the Austal Philippines being the main forerunner. Now, this article discussion deals with one specific project in the Philippine Navy that is just as essential as the others were aforementioned.

This is the Shaldag Mk. V Patrol Craft in service with Israel's Navy.
Source: Israel Shipyard Website.
On the recent video presentation that the Philippine Navy presented on its Facebook page (check a link here), one of the plans that the organization obtains to attain its goal of acquiring at least 25 to 30 ships is to procure more Fast Attack Interdiction Crafts-Missile or FAIC-M where on its own is capable to be more maneuverable while packing more punch through its missile weapons fit.

Apparently, these missile-armed fast attack interdiction crafts are meant for littoral or shallow-water patrols wherein its area of assignment will be preferably deployed on areas that are nearer to the coastline wherein it intends to conduct patrol operations especially in the several parts of the country that requires such asset to attain the necessary maritime security needs. 

It is worth taking note that the Philippine Navy obtains several patrol boats as well as Multipurpose Attack Crafts or MPACs with its Mk. III armed with SPIKE-ER missiles that renders it as a missile-armed attack craft of its own worth. However, with the FAIC-M being in the pipeline which eventually to materialize later along the way, it is worthy to say that having Multipurpose Attack Crafts isn't sufficing the needs given that its role primarily is on special forces deployment as its capability on both the Mk. 1 and Mk. 2 variants with Mk. 3 simply not enough to do the job given its size (source).

Pitz Defense Analysis Note: While there are already existing articles that discuss the offer of the Israel Shipyard to the Philippine Navy such as in the case of this article's main topic regarding the Shaldag-class Patrol Boats, it is worth to put it on every readers' knowledge that we will be discussing the technical aspects of these vessels based on data gathered in public domains across the web which, in a compilation, will help provide the perspective with regards to the capabilities of these patrol vessels have as well as to take the factor of the company's background and specifications in the same way as we did on several weapons-related articles in this website.

So, providing a comprehensive study about the Shaldags is helpful wherein important points and bits of knowledge will partake in such a manner that it helps provide understanding not only with regards to the product that the Israel Shipyards offer to the Philippine Navy but also on the inputs with regards to the Fast Attack Interdiction Craft-Missile Acquisition Project in its entirety.


Snapshot of the Company Website. Link.
On the company's "About Us" portion of its website, the company started in 1959 as a state-owned national shipyard situated in Haifa in Israel and was founded by no other than the State Government of Israel itself. It's beginnings are much like what Indonesians obtain at the present date with their state-owned PT PAL Persero does in terms of building ships, in a way that both shipyards manufacture ships of both civilian and military purposes as well as to provide that self-reliance over shipbuilding production which in the process boost their naval capabilities with the needs being covered and supported by shipyards such as these ones aforementioned.

It is from this company that they research, develop, design, and eventually produce the SAAR 4 class Fast Attack Missile Boats which were done in the late 1960s. From here alone, it is ascertained that they are the pioneering ones in terms of producing and improving such naval technology in which it goes to the satisfiable reason to the idealistic option of opting the Shaldags for Philippine Navy use. It is worth to know that the Shaldag-class Fast Attack Missle Boats were developed and designed in the early 1980s and eventually introduced in the 1990s at the end of the millennium in which it is marketed in various countries including the Philippines at the present date. 

It shows that the Israel Shipyards is in itself a renowned producer in terms of building fast attack crafts in which it primarily serves as the key component for Israel's maritime force capability.  Moreover, their experience on both the SAAR Fast attack missile boats as well as the Shaldags gets more leverage especially on the establishment of the company's marketing on this defense market category, something that is worthy to be seen in a procurement standpoint alongside the products that it presented.

At 40 knots, this fast craft surely can immediately respond at
the direst situations.
Credit: Oded Breyer through this Image Source.
On the page provided by the Israel Shipyards Limited on the Shaldags (alternate link here), this family of fast patrol boats as discussed were introduced in the 1990s which until now still receives a significant number of orders from various countries, making it one of the in-demand, high-selling product for the company to have which defines a lot for its successful marketing in terms of the product itself, integrated with Israeli defense know-how that will surely help the product's user address their respective threats, which is something that the Philippines seeks on its littoral bodies of water.

Apparently, the product's success in combat within the Israel Navy helps the company attract interested buyers who aspire to have this formidable asset within their respective fleets, where they benefit from the capabilities of the Shaldags in terms of its maneuverability and speed that help provide that satisfiable combat results that each Navy end-user seeks to have. Coming from the company's page, here are the highlights they provided on what performance the Shaldags has to offer for the end-user to utilize:

- Designed for security operations requiring high intercept speeds, without sacrificing vessel control.
- Easy to operate, with low maintenance needs.
- Fitted with modern light-weight weapons systems.

Special features:
- Acceleration 0-40 Knots in one minute
- Turning diameter of about 150m at 40 Knots
- Very shallow draft
- Exceptionally low slamming in all sea states
- Dry decks at all speeds

- High speed maintained in rough seas

There are different variants of the Shaldag that the Israel Shipyards produced that defines it more of a family of such combat fast patrol boats in a similar matter as the different variants of the Multipurpose Attack Crafts (MPACs) that the Philippine Navy obtains with variations on its role, capability, and payload. Like the MPACs, the different variants of the Shaldags have a variance in displacement, weapons load/configuration, capacity, endurance, and dimensions which may also mean a variance on the respective roles that these variants have in achieving its purpose as a fast attack patrol boat.

Shaldag II Fast Attack Boats

The Shaldag Mk. 2 is considered the first produced variant of the Shaldag-class Patrol Boats where this was opted by the Israeli Navy way back January of 2002. Alongside the Super Dvora-class patrol boats, these Mk. 2 Shaldags are an essential part of the Israeli Naval force where its speed and maneuverability are considered a force to get reckoned with especially when handled by a better and capable power in the region.

The design of this fast attack boat is primarily focused on coastal patrol where even the Philippine Coast Guard may opt or consider it as their interdiction vessel if they see interest in considering this one. Nevertheless, its role in a Naval fleet suffices the needs for counter-terrorist operations given by a fact that these fast maneuvering vessels are a necessity in the hostile body of water especially if the opposition force (OPFOR) also employs fast crafts for their nasty operations to seek terror. These patrol boats are also applicable to shallow waters especially on rivers that are deep enough for these vessels to traverse on. 

The design of the Shaldag Mk. II paves the way for the next two variants to improve its capability with the latest one being considered by the Philippine Navy for its Fast Attack Interdiction Craft Procurement Project. The specifications of the vessels are as follows.

Shaldag Mk II Characteristics:
Source: Israeli Shipyards.

Length, overall: 24.80m
Beam, molded: 6.00m
Draft, Max.: 1.15m
Speed, Max.: 45 knots
Displacement: 58 tons
Crew: 8 - 10
Range @ 33kn: 650nm
Endurance (days): 4

Shaldag Mk. III/IV Fast Attack Boats

This is the improved version of the Shaldag Mk. II with tweaks that involved its design that affects its dimensions, complement, and speed. This was developed and designed in compliance with the requirements needed by the Israeli Navy. 

Several units were delivered to the Israeli Ministry of Defense, complementing the other units mentioned in this article (The Super Dvoras and the Mk. II Shaldags). The Shaldag MK-III class Fast Patrol Boat is an Israeli-made, combat-proven craft intended for security-related operations within the Israeli fleet wherein high intercept speeds are required for activities such as the interdiction of terrorism and illegal smuggling. As described in the Global Security Website, the patrol craft's special features are the following: the high speed in rough seas, with good seakeeping and outstanding maneuverability, exceptionally low slamming in all sea states, dry decks at all speeds, and very spacious and accessible internal arrangement. 

Both the Mk. III and IV are considered as a single variant in as much as the same way to how Blocks C and D there are in the JAS-39 Gripen Fighter Jets in an Air Force or in roles like the Mk. I and II Multipurpose Attack Crafts with a similar configuration while the Mks. III and IV bearing the SPIKE-ER missiles from Israel. Like the Mk. II before the development of this variant, the production of the Mk. III/IV fast attack boats help propel the development of the current Mk. V Shaldag - the one that is currently offered to the Philippine Navy.

Shaldag Mk. III/IV Characteristics:
Source: Israeli Shipyards.

Length, overall: 26.70m
Beam, molded: 6.00m
Draft, Max.: 1.20m
Speed, Max.: 43+ knots
Displacement: 64 tons
Crew: 10 - 12
Range @ 33kn: 700nm
Endurance (days): 4

Shaldag Mk. V Fast Attack Boats

The Shaldag Mk. V Fast Attack Interdiction Craft is considered the latest iteration of the Shaldags produced by Israel Shipyards and is also the most sophisticated and capable version they sell on the market.

While the earlier Mk. II and III/IV focused more on the littoral, coastal protection, and riverine interdictions, the Mk. V in this matter is designed more on Exclusive Economic Zone Patrols (EEZ), perfect for the countries like the Philippines to have where aside from having a porous border with Indonesia and Malaysia over the potential terror-infested Sulu Sea, it is also helpful at some aspects in protecting fishermen in several shallow areas in the West Philippine Sea. While it is capable of handling EEZ-related missions, its size may not handle the conditions or sea states that prevailing over the contested waters, not to mention that it also cannot deploy face on against a larger Chinese capital ship such as a Type 055 Destroyer or a Type 054a Frigate. Nevertheless, having such a fast craft may mean an enhanced security measure especially if the things do involve counter-terrorism missions over the Sulu area of operations with any movements at sea that involve radical bandits intercepted by these vessels.

Being the latest iteration, it incorporates the improvements in design based on the experiences made from the Mk. II and Mk. III/IV variants wherein its dimension is a bit larger than all of its said predecessors. Its enlarged size helps improve its endurance and range, enabling it more to be an EEZ-mission capable vessel. The Philippine Navy opted for such type of vessel which will be discussed in the following paragraphs of this written article entry.

Shaldag Mk. V Characteristics:
Source: Israeli Shipyards.

Length, overall: 31.20m
Beam, molded: 6.40m
Draft, Max.: 1.25m
Speed, Max.: 40+ knots
Displacement: 95 tons
Crew: 12 - 14
Range @ 33kn: 1,000nm

Endurance (days): 6

More known as the FAIC-M Procurement Project

Video Timestamp: Start from 6:47.

The Philippine Navy, as part of its Sail Plan initiative, is opting for the procurement of Fast Attack and Interdiction Craft-Missile (FAIC-M) platforms as part of the service branch's desire to Modernize its fleet where such vessels, upon their delivery and entry into service, will augment Philippine Navy capital ships such as the Jose Rizal-class Frigates and the Del Pilar-class Offshore Patrol Vessels in patrolling as well as supporting the Multipurpose Attack Crafts (MPACs) for littoral-based mission objectives.

As provided by our colleagues in the defense community on their page here, the number of units which will be purchased under this project was raised to 8 units from the previous six units way back three years ago. From here, it is ascertained that such quantity may allow the organization to put several of its aging ships such as the Tomas Batillo-class Patrol Boats (former South Korean Chamsuri-class Patrol Boats) and the Kagitingan-class Patrol Boats out of service through its retirement given that maintenance gets more expensive along the way, not to mention the question about the spare parts where several ships in the Navy is known to be cannibalized to get the remaining ones operational. Hence, such a procurement setup will help streamline and decrease the budget for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) for the vessel's performance to the organization's mandate and its serviceable life. In terms of offering products for the project, it is worth taking note that there is the potential to have Israel Shipyard's Shaldag Mk. V ended to be the preferred product for this program wherein as provided from across defense communities will be armed by SPIKE-NLOS missiles from Rafael which is also from Israel where it has more range than the SPIKE-ER employed onboard the MPAC Mk. 3 and soon the MPAC Mk. 4. The NLOS is also the one to be the main missile munition of the Philippine Navy's Leonardo AW-159 Wildcat Helicopters alongside Blue Shark Torpedoes.

The purchase, as seen here will help improve the number as well as the overall quality capabilities of patrol boats once inducted into service with the Philippine Navy's Littoral Combat Force, augmenting several aging assets that the unit obtains with several ones replaced altogether. Eventually, the progress on Modernizing the Patrol Boat fleet in the service branch will be improved that much with the older hulls completely replaced with more capable ones such as these Fast Attack InterdictionCrafts like the Israeli Shipyards Shaldag Mk. V.


A little more time to take on reviewing the terms of the deal under the procurement project of Fast Attack Interdiction Crafts and eventually it will be awarded, contract signed, and Notice to Proceed Issued provided that all of the kinks discovered along the process are being ironed out in compliance with the Procurement Law known as the Republic Act. 9184 and the 2016 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) which corresponds to it.

With the Israel Shipyard's undisputed reputation in terms of building capable fast attack crafts such as the Shaldag-class of patrol boats which comes with three main variants, it is of no surprise that the Philippine Navy is opting for them given that being an archipelagic setup in its geography surrounded by bodies of water, having a number of these platforms armed with SPIKE-NLOS missiles and Rafael Typhoon gun installations (Rafael Typhoon 30mm MGS and Rafael Mini-Typhoon 12.7mm RCWS) suffice enough in terms of water interdiction especially in porous areas like the Sulu Sea where any potential threats in the water can be dealt with accordingly. Its patrol attributes may also augment the roles of the larger Offshore Patrol Vessels, enabling that distribution of force and resources with these larger OPVs deployed out in the open sea, conducting the necessary Exclusive Economic Zone patrols which help enforce the Maritime Domain Awareness in which the presence of such ships is enough to have in addressing situations at sea especially in terms of national security with coordination with the peers in the Philippine Coast Guard which is also Modernizing itself.

And so, like the rest of the service branch and also within the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a whole, the Philippine Navy's Littoral Combat Force will have this sense of renewed capabilities that gets in line to their mandate where it satisfies their personnel's necessity of tools needed in combat alongside to the skills that the organization seeks through recruitment. Eventually, once things are in place, it will help improve the service branch as these FAIC-M units getting more of a force in its own worth where like the crew that will soon be assigned to these platforms, will be reporting on duty and ready to serve the country at what circumstances will it be for the country's sovereignty and the welfare of its citizenry.


Kate said...

This is very interesting blog. I am researching about Quality Boats Philippines. Thanks for sharing.

Norman L. Ocampo said...

The MPACs will complement the Shaldag Mk.V, I hope the PN will add more units as the years in the future, we have a very BIG territorial seas and EEZ that needs to safeguard against terrorism, smuggling and poaching, more floating assets for the PN will make us a credible nation that can guard our maritime domain.

Rehoboth said...

Nice post


Anonymous said...

Problem is philippine officials are passive and too dependent to uncle sugar.

Anonymous said...

Not really, the Philippines seek multiple sources and countries for military hardware. South Korea is one. Israel is another.

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