MANILA The Philippine Navy (PN) needs 42 multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC) in its fleet to further enhance its capabilities to defend the country's waters.
PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad made this statement Wednesday 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.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Spike-ER missile system acquisition will be followed by big-ticket items like frigates and corvettes, which will also be armed with missiles.
He added that the Spike-ER acquisition is an indication that the PN is now being upgraded and modernized to be at par with its neighbors.
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.
The Spike-ER system, which arrived in the country last April, is the PN's first missile weapon capable of penetrating 1,000-mm (39 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor and has a range of eight kilometers. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency