MANILA — Aside from anti-piracy missions, the Philippine Navy’s (PN) high-speed and missile-armed multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC) can also be utilized against large surface targets intruding in the country’s territorial waters.
Commander Jonathan Zata, Philippine Navy spokesperson, said this is the essence of “swarming tactic” developed by the Navy for its MPAC fleet.
Under the said doctrine, large numbers of MPACs will be deployed to engage large surface threats.
“(In the said tactics) numerically superior of fast, agile and missile-equipped MPACs will engage and neutralize targets,” Zata said in a message to the Philippine News Agency late Friday.
He added that MPACs can be also optimized for hit-and-run raids if needed.
PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad earlier said the Navy needs 42 more MPACs to further enhance its capabilities to defend the country’s waters.
He made the statement on Nov. 21 shortly after the successful capability demonstration of its newly-acquired and installed Rafael Advanced Defense Ltd. Spike-ER (extended range) surface-to-surface missile system off Lamao Point, Limay, Bataan.
“Based on our matrix, dapat magkaroon tayo ng (we should have) 42 of these type of vessels, (the) MPACs. (We only have) nine, (with another) three coming over next year with the same missile capability. So kung sabay-sabay gumalaw yan (If these ships will operate simultaneously), when we are under siege, I think this will do harm to any threat whether internal or external,” Empedrad said during the press conference aboard the strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao Del Sur.
MPACs are high-speed naval craft capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots and can be utilized for a variety of naval missions like patrol and fire support missions for troops. It can also be armed with machine guns, missiles and a variety of other weapons.
The first test-firing of the Spike-ER missile took place last Aug. 9 in the same location.
The weapon was fired from one of the PN’s three Spike-ER armed MPACs. The MPACs were constructed by the Subic-based Propmech Corporation and activated on May 22, 2017.
The PN MPAC Acquisition Project entered into a contract with Rafael, through SIBAT of Israel Ministry of Defense, for the supply and integration of the weapons systems to three Mark III MPACs.
On April 15, 2017, Lorenzana approved the Notice to Proceed.
PNA – By Priam Nepomuceno