MANILA -- The Philippine Navy (PN) is expected to take possession of three additional multi-purpose attack craft (MPACs) armed with the Rafael Advanced Defense Ltd. Spike-ER (extended range) surface-to-surface missile system by August this year.
This was bared by Navy spokesperson Captain Jonathan Zata when sought for an update regarding the fast and hard-hitting boats Monday afternoon.
"The three MPACs being constructed are still with the builder and will still undergo the systems integration phase in one of the facilities in Subic. Based from the approved contract, the delivery date is on August 2019," he said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.
Should deliveries push through this August, Zata said the Department of National Defense (DND) Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee will still subject the vessels to series of tests and evaluation before finally being accepted.
"The PN TWG (Technical Working Group) is working closely with the DND to ensure the completion of the project," Zata said.
The PN spokesperson said these MPACs will be armed with the Spike-ER surface-to-surface missile systems and will raise the number of vessels armed with the Israeli-made weapon to six.
"The new batch of MPACs will likewise be armed with Spike-ER (missiles)," he added. Earlier, PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said the Navy is expected to activate three more Spike-ER armed MPACs this year.
"We have another three building, and they are expected to be delivered this year. They will also be armed with the Spike-ER missiles," he said.
These MPACs will be called the Mark IV and have started construction in November last year.
Empedrad said that the builders of the MPACs are the same as that of the previous Mark II and III.
The PN's three Mark IIIs MPACs were constructed by the Subic-based Propmech Corporation and activated on May 22, 2017.
These boats can up to 45 knots and are armed with remotely-controlled .50 caliber machineguns aside from the Spike-ER missiles. (PNA)