Multipurpose Assault Craft

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MPAC Mk 3 (BA-491) - Side View.jpg
A PN MPAC Mk3 craft docked on shore.
Class overview
Name: MPAC (Multi-Purpose Assault/Attack Craft)
Builders:
Operators: Philippine Navy
In commission:
  • Mk 1: 2009–present
  • Mk 2: 2011–present
  • Mk 3: 2017-present
Planned: 42
Building: 3
Completed: 9
Active: 9
General characteristics
Tonnage: Mk 3: 19 tonnes
Length:
  • Mk 1: 15 m
  • Mk 2 & Mk 4: 17 m
  • Mk 3: 16.5 m
Beam: 4.76 m
Draft:
  • Mk 1: 0.92 m
  • Mk 2: 0.90 m
Depth: 2.1 m
Propulsion: Water Jet
Speed:
  • Mk 1: 40 kn
  • Mk 2 & 3: 45 kn
  • Mk 4: 47 kn
Range: Mk 4: 350 NM at 30 kn
Troops:
  • Mk 1 to Mk 3: 16
  • Mk 4: 8-10
Complement:
  • Mk 1 to Mk 3: 5
  • Mk 4: 7
Armament:

Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) is a type of fast attack/assault craft developed for the Philippine Navy. Originally designed to transport troops at a high speed and then land them on the beach, they have since expanded their roles to include interdiction, search & rescue and surface warfare.

A total of 42 boats are needed by the Navy of which 9 have been completed and 3 under construction as of November 2018.[1]

The Mk 3 version of the MPAC are the very first ships in the entire history of the Philippine Navy to be officially armed with missiles.[2]

Construction[edit]

The MPAC's hull is made out of aluminum and is powered by water jet engines. It has a range of 560 km and a maximum speed of 40–45 knots, and carries a crew of 5 plus 16 fully equipped soldiers.[3]

History[edit]

In 2009, the Philippine Navy ordered the first batch of three ships from a Taiwanese company whose identity was never revealed. However, speculations[by whom?] point out that the manufacturer might be the Taiwanese company Lung Teh Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. These first three ships were commissioned into service during the Philippine Navy's 111th Anniversary on May 22, 2009.[4] These first batch of boats are known as the Mark One (Mk 1) version.

In 2011, an additional three MPACs were built that were slightly bigger than the previous three ships, and these ships this time were built by the Filipino company Propmech Corp. The first of these second batch of MPACs was commissioned into service during the Philippine Navy's 114th Anniversary on May 22, 2012.[5] The next two ships were commissioned on August 6, 2012.[6] These second batch of boats are known as the Mark Two (Mk 2) version.

In 2016, Propmech was again contracted to build another three ships for USD 1.86 million (PHP 90 million) each and delivery was set for April 2017.[7] The ships arrived without their armaments and were commissioned into service on May 22, 2017 as part of the Philippine Navy's Third Boat Attack Division of the Philippine Fleet's Littoral Combat Force.[8] These third batch of boats are known as the Mark Three (Mk 3) version. The armaments for the Mk 3 were initially set to be delivered by December 2017,[9] but were only actually delivered in May 2018.[10]

In September 2017, the Department of National Defense (DND) released a tender to procure an additional three MPAC vessels for the Philippine Navy which will be fourth batch. Budget is set at USD 1.77 million (PHP 90 million) each for the hulls only,[11] but these will be armed similarly as the Mk 3 version. The bidding for these boats underwent Post-Qualification in July 2018[12] and construction started later in November 2018 with delivery for all 3 vessels scheduled in 2019.[13]

In May 2018, the DND revealed that they are studying a plan to arm the Mk 1 and Mk 2 versions of the MPAC with the same Spike ER missiles that are used also on the Mk 3 version.[14]

Operational history[edit]

In May 2010, the MPACs got their first baptism of fire when they were used to extract Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in Basilan under heavy mortar fire from rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels attempting to sabotage the election.[15]

In September 2013, the MPACs led the search and rescue operations for the passengers of the ill-fated MV St. Thomas Aquinas owned by the 2GO Shipping Company. It collided with M/V Sulpicio Express Siete in Cebu resulting in more than 100 casualties.[15]

In the same month of September 2013 during the Zamboanga City Crisis, four MPACs were among those used to patrol the coastal villages of Zamboanga City and prevent the sympathizers of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Basilan and Sulu from reinforcing their troops in Zamboanga.[16]

In September 2015, an MPAC participated in the 2015 PAGSISIKAP Fleet-Marine Amphibious Exercise in Ternate, Cavite by landing Philippine Marine Corps personnel into the beach.[17]

In March 2016, two MPACs of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NAVFORWESM) were used to intercept the M/L Fatima Radz-Auna off the coast of Arena Blanco, Zamboanga. The Radz-Auna was found with 1,500 5 kg sacks of smuggled Sugar with an estimated worth of PHP 3.15 million, and was immediately escorted to the Zamboanga Port and turned over to the Bureau of Customs.[18]

In December 2017, an MPAC Mk 2 (BA-485) was revealed to be assigned to guard the island province of Tawi-Tawi which lies near the Philippines' maritime border with Malaysia.[19]

In February 2018, two MPAC Mk 3 boats formed part of the 3rd Boat Attack Division under the operational control of the Joint Task Force - Malampaya of the Palawan-based Western Command (WesCom) where they will conduct patrol and rescue operations in the waters off Palawan, particularly around the Malampaya gas field area.[20]

In April 2018, the MPAC Mk 2 (BA-485) participated in the interception of the Mongolian registered M/V Diamond 8 vessel near the Olutanga Island in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay which was later found to be attempting to smuggle Php 67 million worth of rice. The sailors of BA-485 were later given the Bronze Cross Medal for this accomplishment in May 2018.[21]

In July 2018, the MPAC Mk 1 (BA-482) participated in the second leg of the 4th Combined Maritime Security Activity (MSA) with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the waters around Tawi-Tawi along with the BRP Anastacio Cacayorin (PG-387) and BRP Felix Apolinario (PG-395) Patrol Crafts. The RAN sent the patrol vessels HMAS Ararat and HMAS Wollongong for the activity which consists of Meeting Procedures, Maritime Patrols and Ship Drills.[22]

In December 2018, an MPAC Mk 1 (BA-484) together with the BRP Waray (LC-288), BRP Agta (LC-290), BRP Juan Magluyan (PC-392), Philippine Marine Corps and Naval Special Operations Group units conducted an Amphibious Operation on Minis Island, Patikul, Sulu that resulted in the neutralization of seven Abu Sayyaf bandits, apprehension of 10 individuals and the recovery of several firearms and other war materials. The crew of BA-484 were later given the Military Merit Medal (Philippines) with Spearhead Device for their participation in the operation.[23]

Versions[edit]

Mk 1
Original production version with total of three built by Lung Teh Shipbuiling Co.[24]
Mk 2
Next production version with another three built by Propmech Corp. This version is 2 m longer than the Mk 1 and is differentiated by the different shape of its Pilot House and the location of the 3 machine guns.[25]
Mk 3
Able to operate up to Sea State 5[7] and armed with Spike ER missiles, a Mini-Typhoon[26] Remote Weapons Station (RWS) with a 12.7 mm machine gun and two 7.62 mm machine guns.[27] The Spike missiles and Mini-Typhoon RWS became operational with the Mk 3 in August 2018.[2]
Mk 4
This version will not have an Assault Ramp and will carry less Troops compared to the earlier versions. It will be armed with Spike-ER missiles, one Remote Weapons Station (RWS) and two Stern facing 12.7 mm caliber Heavy Machine Guns.[28]

Ships in class[edit]

Pennant Number Version Commissioned Status
BA-482 Mk 1 22 May 2009 Active
BA-483 Mk 1 22 May 2009 Active
BA-484 Mk 1 22 May 2009 Active
BA-485 Mk 2 22 May 2012 Active
BA-486 Mk 2 6 August 2012 Active
BA-487 Mk 2 6 August 2012 Active
BA-488 Mk 3 22 May 2017 Active
BA-489 Mk 3 22 May 2017 Active
BA-491 Mk 3 22 May 2017 Active
Unknown Mk 4 TBA Scheduled for 2019 Delivery
Unknown Mk 4 TBA Scheduled for 2019 Delivery
Unknown Mk 4 TBA Scheduled for 2019 Delivery

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "PH Navy needs 42 Multi-Purpose Assault Craft: Empedrad"
  2. ^ a b "Philippine Navy completes Sea Acceptance Test of Spike ER Missile System"
  3. ^ "MPACs to be transformed into harassment force - balita.ph - Online Filipino News". Archive.org. 22 April 2016. Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. ^ "Teodoro tells Philippine Navy on its 111th anniversary: "Exceed your achievements"". Archive.org. 22 May 2009. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "Gazmin assures Navy of brand-new gear, assets showcased on Navy Day". Archive.org. 22 May 2012. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ "PH's new patrol boats". Archive.org. 6 August 2012. Archived from the original on 9 August 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ a b "Invitation to Bid for MPAC Mk3" (PDF). Archive.org. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  8. ^ "PN commissions first 3 MPACs with missile provisions Monday". Archive.org. 22 May 2017. Archived from the original on 22 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "Navy to have missile system by Christmas". ptvnews.ph. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  10. ^ "PH Navy Gets First Ever Missile System"
  11. ^ "Philippines to procure additional MPACs from local industry". Archive.org. 15 Sep 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-09-15. Retrieved 15 Sep 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  12. ^ "Proponent for Batch 4 Assault Crafts Now in Post-Qualification Phase"
  13. ^ "PH Navy to get 3 more Multi-Purpose Attack Craft this Year"
  14. ^ "DND Studying Possibility of Arming Navy Craft with Spike-ER Missiles"
  15. ^ a b "PHILIPPINE DEFENSE NEWS: Philippine Navy's Multi-Purpose Attack Craft or MPAC Led the Rescue Efforts in Cebu". Archive.org. 4 March 2016. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  16. ^ "7 ships, elite teams form Zambo naval blockade". Archive.org. 3 May 2015. Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  17. ^ "Navy Kicks Off 5-Day Drill in Ternate, Cavite - Inquirer News". Archive.org. 22 January 2016. Archived from the original on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  18. ^ "Military Intercepts Smuggled Sugar Shipment Off Zamboanga - Nation, News, The Philippine Star - philstar.com". Archive.org. 19 August 2016. Archived from the original on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  19. ^ "I-Witness: 'Ang Huling Isla,' Dokumentaryo ni Howie Severino (Full Episode)"
  20. ^ "Navy Ships Deployed in Malampaya Area"
  21. ^ "Navforwem Honors Sailors Who Intercept P67-M Smuggled Rice"
  22. ^ "AFP-WestMinCom through PH Navy Welcomes Royal Australian Navy"
  23. ^ "Navy fetes Western Mindanao Personnel for Gallantry, Performance"
  24. ^ "LUNG TEH Shipbuilding CO.,LTD". Archive.org. 4 March 2016. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  25. ^ "LUNG TEH Shipbuilding CO.,LTD". Archive.org. 27 May 2015. Archived from the original on 27 May 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  26. ^ "Israeli Missiles, RWS to Equip Philippine Navy Combat Boats". Defense Update. February 27, 2016. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  27. ^ "2 Philippine Navy MPACs with Missile Armament Provisions to Arrive Soon » Manila Bulletin News". Archive.org. 28 March 2017. Archived from the original on 21 May 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  28. ^ "Kaohsiung Maritime 2018: Philippine Navy’s Fourth Batch of MPACs to inherit Mk III Design"