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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Israel Shipyard's Shaldag Mk. V Fast Patrol Boat Offered to the Philippine Navy

According to very credible sources involved in the project, the Philippine Navy recently released a Request for Information (RFI) for 6 Fast Attack Crafts to equip the Littoral Combat Force, Philippine Fleet. This is to fulfill a partial requirement under the Philippine Navy’s Capability Upgrade Program's Horizon 2 phase.

Despite bring a Horizon 2 project, it is now being front-loaded for early processing rather than wait until 2018 due to the prerogatives of new Philippine president, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in beefing up the capabilities to fight internal threats like insurgency, terrorism, and drug shipments as part of his overall security plan.

The Philippine Navy released a Request for Information to Israel Shipyards recently, and a formal offer was made in response. The requirement is for a fast attack craft larger than the MPAC and almost the same size as the Andrada-class patrol gunboats of the PN.
Photo taken from Israel Shipyards website.


In simplistic terms, the Philippine Navy describe Fast Attack Crafts as small, heavily armed boats, with sufficient sensor capability to detect targets from a distance, and can run at high speeds sufficient enough to catch up and intercept other fast craft threats.

Among the missions it is expected to do is to intercept terrorists and kidnappers moving along the porous borders of the Philippines with Malaysia and Indonesia, and terrorists moving along the scattered islands within the country to escape military assaults or conduct localized kidnappings, intercept smugglers especially those carrying weapons for terrorist or insurgent groups and illegal substances like drugs.

The fast attack crafts are also designed to conduct standard naval operations in support of territorial defense, including naval patrols, and surface combat against opposing naval surface threats if necessary.

Based on previous Capability Upgrade Program acquisition plans of the Philippine Navy, the requirement for fast attack crafts stemmed out from the need for Patrol Gunboats, which later on were adjusted to a fleet of Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts (MPAC) armed with missiles and guns.

This infographic showed the Philippine Navy's early indication to acquire fast attack craft with missiles within the Horizon 2 phase. This would later on evolve into MPACs armed with missiles as shown by the recently-awarded MPAC Acquisition Program Lots 1 & 2 which is part of the Horizon 1 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.
Photo taken from the Philippine Navy's website.

Shortcomings of the MPAC?:

MaxDefense was expecting early on, that when the Philippine Navy decided to use the MPAC as a littoral interdictor and patrol boat, it would encounter problems because the MPAC was not purpose built to be a coastal interdictor and patrol craft. The MPAC was designed as a fast insertion boat for special operation forces or marine troops, lightly armed for self defense and fire support of landing or retreating troops, and fast  and small enough to compensate for stealth.

MaxDefense found out that the Philippine Navy encountered some issues regarding the use of MPAC design for interdiction and patrol duties when problems came out on the latest MPAC acquisition project for the Mark 3 version. This variant is larger, heavier, and better armed than the previous MPACs (locally called the Mark 1 and Mark 2 variants).

It was probably found out that the current MPAC design is too small to accommodate enough space to mount heavier weapons, and to provide enough power to the automated and electronic weapons systems that are used to mount the guns and missiles. It is also possible that the current design is maxed-out to meet the standard requirements of the boat to reach the desired speed, endurance, and capability to meet the required operations at Sea State 5 without degradation of subsystem operations.

Lack of space also means that the MPAC will have less space for crew quarters and supplies, ammunition storage, fuel, and movement space. It also means that the boat is heavier and possibly will have a reduced speed compared to its lightly armed sister-ships, thus will need a more powerful engine that is also physically larger.

MaxDefense also received information that the Philippine Navy plans to use the armed MPACs to slip inside the well deck of the Tarlac-class landing platform dock or any future LPD and any other amphibious assault ships of the fleet. This means the MPAC must retain its size, reduce its mast height (or adjust accordingly), and maintain a certain weight limit for safe carriage on the well deck’s platform during transit.

These issues are probably considered by the Philippine Navy, resulting to the formulation of a need for larger, purpose built fast attack crafts for interdiction and coastal patrol duties, with a larger size and enough space, speed, and endurance than the MPAC.

As seen in this illustration, there is almost no space for a resting cabin for the crew without reducing the troop carrying capacity. The existence of an RCWS system on the MPAC Mk.3 already reduced the number of troops carried to just less than 10 by eating space on the troop compartment. 

The Current PROPOSAL:

So far, the Philippine Navy appears to have only made a Request for Information to Israel Shipyards, based in Haifa, Israel.

Israel Shipyards, with the assistance of the Israel Ministry of Defense, proposed their SHALDAG MK. V fast patrol boat to the Philippine Navy. The Mk. V, which is currently the Shaldag family’s largest variant, is almost the same size as the Philippine Navy’s own Andrada-class patrol gunboats, but is faster and is proven to carry more weapons than the PN’s almost 30-year old US-designed boats.

Israel Shipyards offered the SHALDAG Mk. V to the Philippine Navy recently, as a proposal for its fast attack craft requirements. 6 units were quoted with the RFI.
Photo taken from Israel Shipyards website. 

More on the boat’s dimensions and technical information can be found on the link provided HERE: 

The proposed Philippine Navy variant of the Shaldag Mk. V is expected to be armed with a stabilized remote weapons station for a 25mm gun, and small surface-to-surface missiles which MaxDefense expects to be the Spike family due to the PN’s recent order of Spike-ER missiles for the MPAC Mk. 3. Other future small anti-ship missiles could also be considered in the future. Manually-operated machine guns are also expected.

The Shaldag Mk. V can be armed with a 25mm remote weapons system like the Typhoon, and is expected to be armed with the Spike-ER lightweight surface-to-surface missiles similar to those ordered for the MPAC Mk. 3 lately.

It is also expected to be fitted with a navigation & surface search radar, and an electro-optical fire control system, probably similar to those already in use in existing Philippine Navy ships. Space for a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) is also available, and is expected considering the PN’s existing patrol boat fit.

Included in the offer from Israel Shipyard are an Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) for the boats for a specific number of years, and a Transfer of Technology (ToT) clause which allows the Philippine Navy’s own Naval Yard to construct their own fast attack crafts based on Israel Shipyard’s own technology, including additional units the Shaldag Mk. V. MaxDefense believes that it is possible that some of the boats included in the 6 units could be built by the Philippine Navy in their Naval Yard in Cavite.

Possibility of Additional Units:

Aside from the 6 units quoted from the Request for Information, it is expected that the Philippine Navy will probably acquire more boats of the same class in the future, to beef up its requirements, and temporarily or permanently replace existing older Philippine Navy assets. This is considering that the Philippine Navy is planning to acquire at least 30 fast attack crafts and patrol boats within the current administration’s term under Horizon 2 phase, and possibly another 30 units as part of Horizon 3 phase, based on their latest acquisition plans.

This latest infographic from the Philippine Navy as of April 2016 shows that they intend to acquire 63 MPACs with missiles within a 15 year period covering Horizons 1 to 3. Horizon 1 already covered 3 MPACs, so 60 more are expected. This was before the PN decided to change their plans and instead  acquire a mixed fleet of MPACs and larger fast attack crafts.
Photo shared by Cods Salacup M on the MaxDefense FB pages last June 2016.

Considering the price difference between the MPAC and the Shaldag Mk. V, MaxDefense expects that other avenues will be considered by the Philippine Navy, including mixing both types into a "high-low", or a "high-mid-low" mix, with MPACs expected to bear the higher percentage of the expected 30-boat acquisition as the “low” tier of the force mixture, while the Shaldags could be considered the “high” level.

The Transfer of Technology clause on the proposal also means that the Philippine Navy is expected to build more of the type in the future, and this does not make sense if the PN does not make maximize the use of this deal inclusion. 

Future Proposals Expected:

Aside from Israel Shipyards, MaxDefense believes that another Israeli shipbuilder, IAI-Ramta, would probably make a move to submit their own proposals with their Super Dvora series of fast patrol boats to the Philippine Navy. Although MaxDefense sources confirmed that the Shaldag is currently the favourite of the officers within the Littoral Combat Force to meet their requirements. The Super Dvora is considered smaller than the Shaldag Mk. V and could slot in somewhere between the middle of the two types, although Israel Shipyards also have smaller Shaldag designs, like their Mk. III and Mk. IV series, that could be counter offered should IAI-Ramta do offer their products.

It is also expected that countries with existing Defense Cooperation Agreement with the Philippines will submit their formal offers to the Philippine Navy as well, like those from the US, Korea, Indonesia, Australia, and others, although there is no indication yet that such was already made except for the one submitted by Israel Shipyards as of this posting.

It is possible that other offers would be made by other shipyards, like the Mk. VI patrol boat used by the US Navy and made by SAFE Boats International. But that remains to be seen.


MaxDefense reminds its readers that this is just an offer made by a single shipyard based on an RFI, and does not correspond to any purchase.

MaxDefense will provide more information once they become available, especially if the Philippine Navy decides to move closer to an actual acquisition deal rather than just consider an proposal.


  1. How about the pricing? Will it fit the budget.

  2. Sebastian is not first?


    1. Nope. Not this time, been busy lately. Maybe in the next blog.


  3. The AFP should visit the Israeli shipyard soonest. Israel technology is superb and reliable with regards to these naval defense requirements of the AFP. Max tell your mule in the AFP that they should include the drones especially the PROTECTORS which could enable the Navy monitor or patrol a maritime area by remote control.

  4. I hope that this would push through and finally our Armed Forces are making steps to go to the missile age. A pity because the Philippines is the last to do so. Why? Because there is a business in local insurgentcy and those corrupt PMAyer's always knew that. And the want to maintain the status quo for them to earn their retirement at the cost of our soldiers lives. They sell brand new AK 47 purchased by camp aguinaldo to npa, a full werehouse of ammo from fort bonifacio when the AFP take camp abubakar are just examples. They don't just want to have our Armed Forces to have and upperhand.That is why you can never see a country equipped with modern missile has this kind of antiquated problem. May those corrupt officials burn in hell.

  5. Sir max, why wouldn't the government make use of the shipbuilding companies here in the philippines?? mostly those who had enough experiences in shipbuilding, with some help from foreign companies, we can be self sufficient in manufacturing indigenous warships someday.

    1. Sir Max, I am also very curious why the Philippine government does not acquire licenses to manufacture equipment locally.

      The Philippines is supposed to be the world's 4th largest shipbuilding country, as per gross tonnage. The Philippines' unemployment is also the highest in the region.

      Yet much of what the government procures seem to be made overseas, sending precious dollars and creating jobs in Indonesia (Tarlac/Makassar-class LPDs), India (Karmota-class frigates), South Korea (T/A-50 lead-in fighter trainers).

      Hopefully, the Philippines can negotiate more offset agreements that will include tech transfer, local co-production and even perhaps licensed exportation.

      Thank you very much.

      Mat E
      Blacktown NSW

    2. Anonymous, may I reply to the question posed to Max. (Disclaimer, I am not a military officer, nor expert in ship building, What I know is from my various research and readings of defense equipment from various online sources.)

      My Answer:
      The government will probably build local MPACS(they are already doing it with the help of local ship builders, but with simple weapons systems.) with the transfer of technology when the Philippines will purchase those fast attack crafts from Israel. The reason why we can't yet build our own because it will take years or decades of research in providing a weapon system for such small crafts, the sensors and the radar capabilities. In short, we do not have our own technology to mount advance weapons for the patrol boats. Building a ship here? That's for sure is possible, but what we are lacking is the technology, that is why we need first to purchase, those boats and acquire a license in the process to use their technology. Creating our own techs will take time like 10 years or more.

    3. Not necessarily true. it is mainly investment return that drives these activities. There a quite a number of system provider / integrator that can work with shipbuilder. if a company spend money for R&D there better be return. That is where the government comes in. The procurement law states that whatever we buy should be in current use of a number of countries. From that condition alone, PHL shipbuilder lose already. Same thing with small arms. The best we can do is to have a deal of technology transfer like for example if we buy 10, 2 will be built in the supplier's country. The rest shall be built with some sort of joint venture by local supplier(s).

  6. ha! ha! want total transfer of technology, cheap, build everything yourself, and fast delivery. what shipbuilder will give away everything for peanuts.

    1. They're called offset agreements, Einstein.

      India has been doing this for decades and have used it to help them overtake the Philippine economy while allowing them to manufacture their own Su-30s, Brahmos missiles and co-develop Russia's FA-50 stealth fighter. The Philippine Navy's next frigates will most likely be made in India, providing hundreds if not thousands of jobs to Indians.

      Like India, the Philippines should have laws to always include offset agreements when negotiating with foreign defense suppliers.

      Sir Max, I hope you don't mind if I include links below, to websites that have some more info regarding offset agreements, for those who are interested to learn more:

      Not only will the AFP benefit greatly from offset agreements, but also the Philippine economy as a whole, creating more jobs and thus, increasing government revenue for improved services to the population.

      Thank you very much.

      Mat E
      Blacktown NSW

  7. Phils. Government MUST consider also fast attack craft from NORWAY. Why is because this country is also known in SHIPBUILDING. the engine used is MTU and this company has its own office in Philippines. Not hard to maintain! Until now their OLD MODEL of Fast Craft still use to hunt Russian SUBS. Government can propose into Government to Government deal in Norway!

    1. The problem with Norway is that we have different climate than them.. Norway seas are calmer than ours..

  8. hope this will help stoping ASG in crossboundary terrorism..


  9. Can these MPACs be armed with torpedoes, too? With all the technologies available today,can they be as effective as compared to the PT Boats against Japanese ships during WWII?

  10. Can these MPACs be armed with torpedoes, too? With all the technologies available today, can they be as effective as the PT Boats against Japanese ships during WWII?

  11. i hope from now on whether navy or air force their equipment will all have missiles.

  12. Mr. Max, How much is the price per boat and what is it's Technical Specifications?

  13. This is a clear understanding of what the requirements the PN needs in its littoral fleet warfare . The MPAC series although has its advantage in speed and maneuverability has its Achilles heel on its limited size and load space for major armaments and electronics upgrades not even considering for crew support . Although limited to coastal patrol and interdiction missions it will need several strategically located base of operation to have a better scope of coverage to maximize its capabilities and range . Considering all of these factors , this is where the Shaldag Mk V comes in the picture . One of the major factor that would provide a better layer of mission coverage when mixed with the propose FAC MPACS is its size and its capabilities for the type of mission the PN needs . I'm always marveled and have high respects with the Israel defense industry for developing cost effective and mission capable defense equipments. There are several designs that could be adapted to the type of mission the PN needs in combatting these lawless elements in the southern waters . With the upcoming Horizon 2 requirements it would be best to develop other venues with the government of Israel for a better way to get more informations for other much needed defense contract for the AFP . This actually will give us a wider options and "Bang for the Bucks " defense deals other than US sourced equipments without making major changes in their equipments commonality .

  14. hi sir max, down ata page mo sa facebook?

  15. With these series of acquisition, do the defense and security studied very well our layered of credible defense vis-a-vis with materiel acquisition and its sustainment. The SSV and our other capital ship right now has no permanent basing as a garage for maintenance in case of eventuality. With our defense and security acquisition is lean towards beyond the 2030 threats. Warfare technologies now a days is fast changing this is the reason the capability and capacity we are acquiring must be upgradeable specially its architectural integration to secured C4I. I have seen our procurement process I think the waterloo in the future is the Joint Operation from Strategic-Operaitonal-Tactical vis-a-vis its logistical sustainment from personnel development and enhancement to logistical capacity to sustain it. I suggest to upgrade the Naval Sea Systems Command shipyard capability and capacity to inlcude the area in Subic and somehere in Central Luzon or Palawan Area. Lesson learned from orld War 2 and from present and furure threats must be taken into account. Defense and Security of our country is very complex in nature. Technically speaking to sustain it in case of war up to depot level of maintenance and repair what must be done.

  16. In addition, there would be a thourough study why we need a lot of small attack crafts? Wherein such capability can be crippled by unmanned AAV with missiles and precision guided munitions. Our enemy would not hit us near but they will hit us afar. If we really want to have a multiple attack crafts starts to fortify our island where they could "hide and seek". Putting them in an open ship yard is a dooms day. In World War 2, the mosquito fleets where not be able to sustain its capability to cripple the enemy ships vis-a-vis the small submarines staioned at Fort San Felipe at that time. We need an integrated battle network from land, air and sea. With our acqusition it seems we are neglecting our Air-Sea superiority with longer strikes capability and capacity integrated with our C4ISR for Joint Operation in COP.

  17. Just for thought:
    The most complex warship ever to be assembled in Indonesia has successfully completed its sea trials
    The completion of trials can be seen as a validation of Indonesia's ability to assemble more sophisticated warships beyond small surface combatants and support ships
    The first SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) guided-missile frigate on order for the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Laut, or TNI-AL) has completed sea trials and is on track to meet its delivery schedule, shipbuilder Damen announced on 13 September.
    The vessel, which will be the future KRI Raden Eddy Martadinata with pennant number 331, is one of two SIGMA 10514 frigates being jointly constructed by Damen and Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL.
    Raden Eddy Martadinata first underwent seven days of basin trials at PT PAL's facilities in Surabaya to ensure that its propulsion and safety systems were fully operational prior to its shakedown cruise.
    This was then followed by a passage from Surabaya to the Java Sea where the ship underwent sea trials that included tests of its weapon, radar, and sonar systems while underway, said Damen.
    "The trials were successful with almost all the systems passing their assessments first time around", the company said, adding that certain parts of the ship, such as the accommodation, will still require minor modifications that will be undertaken towards the end of September 2016.
    The 105 m platform features a standard displacement of approximately 2,400 tonnes, and can accommodate a crew of 120. The vessel has a top speed of 28 kt, a maximum range of 5,000 n miles at 14 kt, and a standard range of 4,000 n miles at 18 kt.
    Raden Eddy Martadinata has been configured for anti-surface, anti-submarine, and anti-air missions with a suite of weapons that include launchers for MBDA MM40 Exocet Block II anti-ship missiles, six (two triple) Eurotorp B515 torpedo launchers, and a 12-cell vertical launch system that can deploy the MBDA VL-MICA surface-to-air missiles.


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