In a bid to improve its territorial sea interdiction capabilities, the Philippine Navy (PN) announced that it will be acquiring missile-armed MPACs (multi-purpose assault craft) to beef up its patrol force.
This was announced by PN vice commander Rear Admiral Caesar C. Taccad during Tuesday's briefing on modernization.
The MPACs will be designed for territorial sea interdiction operations with maritime situational awareness and limited credible deterrence in the protection of the country's interest at the West Philippine Sea, Taccad stated
"And it may also be used for internal security operations and humanitarian assistance disaster response operations," he stressed.
The Department of National Defense (DND) earlier announced that it is allocating Php270 million to acquire three missile-armed MPACs.
The money will be sourced from the AFP Modernization Act Trust Fund of 2000.
The contract includes mission essential equipment.
Mission essential equipment includes day/night electronic navigation systems, communication suites, safety-of-life-at-sea, propulsion system and seamanship and ship-handling gears.
The PN currently operates a force of six MPACs.
Three of the PN's MPACs are sourced from Taiwan while the remaining three were ordered from Filipino shipbuilder Propmech Corporation, which is based in Subic Bay, Zambales.
These ships are 16.5 meters long, 4.76 meters wide and has a draft of one meter and a top speed of 45 knots.
Each one costs around Php90 million. It has a range 300 nautical miles. The hull is made of high-quality aluminum and is crewed by one officer and four enlisted personnel. It is capable of carrying 16 fully-equipped troopers or two tons of cargo.
The MPAC is capable of operating in territorial waters up to "Sea State 3" (slight waves) without any system degradation. It is armed with one .50 caliber and two 7.62mm machine guns. (PNA)