New assault craft ideal for anti-piracy missions off Sulu

MANILA Aside from deterring intruders off Philippine waters, the country's newest multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC) are also ideal for suppressing the pirate threat off the waters of Sulu, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday.

He added that with its high-speed and modern armament, the MPAC is well suited in neutralizing pirates and other threats infesting the same waters.

"I think the MPAC is ideal for Sulu (waters)," Lorenzana stressed.

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.

This was supported by Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, who said that the MPAC's secondary weapon, the remote-controlled .50 caliber machine guns are ideal for anti-piracy missions.

"(The) .50 caliber (machine guns) can be used for pirates. Certainly we will not use (a Spike-ER) missile to destroy (a) small banca na nakaboard na Abu Sayyaf, but we can use the .50 caliber machine gun, (it's the MPAC) secondary capability. Automated siya, (and) kahit maalon we can hit the target very accurate(ly)," he added.

When it comes to using the expensive Spike-ER missiles, Empedrad said that they have a doctrine to refer to when its comes to the use of the weapon.

"For the missile, we have a doctrine (to follow) when to fire the missile because it's (worth) PHP10 million. Alangan naman iputok namin sa isang bangka ang PHP10 million na missile. so lugi tayo diyan (Of course, we won't fire on a boat a missile that is worth 10 million. It's uneconomical)," he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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