The Philippines has added three more attack craft into its navy, the Southeast Asian state announced this week.
The Philippine Navy (PN), which remains one of the weakest in the Asia-Pacific, has a Littoral Combat Force (LCF) that operates close to the country’s coast.
On 22 May, the PN added three 17 meter multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) into the 3rd Boat Attack Division of the LCF. The vessels, which will bear the hull numbers BA-488, BA-489, and BA-491, were handed over and commissioned at Sangley Point in Cavite City. They will form the 3rd Boat Attack Division of the LCF.
The three new MPACs, which are newer Mark III models, are more advanced than the six Mark I and Mark IIs currently in the inventory. The MPACs are currently being used by the PN for a variety of activities, including patrols, search and rescue, ship boarding, and surface warfare operations.
The MPACs were acquired for 270 million pesos (roughly $5.5 million) using the budget from the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP’s) modernization program, which has seen the expected mix of continuity and change since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took over from Benigno Aquino III last year (See: “What’s Next for Philippine Military Modernization Under Duterte?“). According to the PN, the contract includes mission essential equipment, such as day/night electronic navigation systems, communication suites, safety of life at sea, propulsion systems, and seamanship and ship handling gears.
The new MPACs, which were constructed by Subic Bay-based Propmech Corporation, will be armed with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd’s Spike ER in anti-ship mode, Philippine navy officials said. PN flag officer-in-command Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado said the installation of the missile systems would occur separately and at a later time.
Philippine Navy spokesperson Captain Lued Lincuna also added that the MPACs would participate in the 119th founding anniversary of the PN, which will be celebrated on May 31 at Sasa Wharf in Davao City.