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Friday, April 7, 2017

First Photos of Philippine Navy's New Multi-Purpose Attack Craft Mk. 3

MaxDefense was able to obtain excellent photos of the Philippine Navy's new Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) Mk. 3, as it was being tested in Subic Bay. The photos came from a source and from a community member, and these appears to be the first photos of the type to be made public, a MaxDefense exclusive.

The MPAC Mk. 3 are being built in the Philippines through the winning proponent, Propmech Corporation, using a design made by its partner, Lung Teh Shipbuilding of Taiwan.

This photo shows the front and side views of the new MPAC Mk. 3. Compare that to the MPAC Mk. 2 photo below.
Photo from MaxDefense source who wish to remain anonymous.

The MPAC Mk. 2 for comparison purposes.

Based on the photos provided to us, there appears to be several physical differences between this Mk. 3, and the older Mk.2 and Mk. 1. For easier comparison, MaxDefense will only refer to the MPAC Mk. 2 for comparison as it is an improved design over the MPAC Mk. 1. Thanks to some of our contributors for their inputs as well.

First of, it appears that the reclining bow ramp for inserting/extracting troops are gone. Instead it is now a solid hull with no openings, but still retaining the flat contour of the older MPACs. Retaining that contour could be to confuse the enemy on the MPAC's lost capability to land troops from the bow.

The bow ramp is now missing, and built as a solid bow. The flat bow still remains, due to unknown reasons. Photo from MaxDefense source who wish to remain anonymous.

Also missing are the twin top deck openings connected to the bow doors, which are not needed anymore without the bow ramp.
The mast is also re-designed on this new variant compared to the older ones. Based on the photo, its difficult to compare if the mast on MPAC Mk. 3 is lower than that of MPAC Mk. 2, considering the Philippine Navy requested for redesign on this matter. The MPAC Mk. 3 must comply with the Philippine Navy's requirement for the new MPAC Mk.3s to be able to enter the well deck of the Tarlac-class Landing Platform Dock. The previous mast were too high, and won't allow the older MPACs to safely fit the LPD's well deck opening.

The MPAC Mk. 3 from afar. The overall design of the boat becomes apparent here. A lot of differences from the older MPACs. It looks sleeker too.
Photo from MaxDefense sources who wish to remain anonymous.

It also looks like there are no gun canopies above the boat's forward part of the bridge, which are present in the MPAC Mk. 2. so far no mounts on the brdige roof can be seen in the photo.

According to initial design submitted by the proponent, Propmech Corporation, the Mini Typhoon RCWS will be installed above the bridge at the center-forward part where a pedestal is located, while canopies for manually-operated machine guns will still be present at the rear part of the bridge. It remains to be seen though if Propmech and its partner, Lung Teh Shipbuilding, will follow this configuration. 

This is the concept illustration on the weapon system locations of the new MPAC Mk. 3, but not necessarily the design concept for the hull. The expected position of the Mini Typhoon RCWS, Spike-ER launcher and manually operated machine guns can be seen here, although it remains to be seen if this would still be followed in the actual boat.
Photo taken from the former forum.

The new boat's design was also changed, with the previous deck access configuration changed. The forward is now higher than the midship area resulting on a different gunwale contour.

The removal of the bow ramp also confirms the reduction of troop carrying capacity which was expected and indicated in the technical specifications. With this, our sources confirmed the absence of the jeepney-style front facing bench seats, and replaced with front facing shock mitigating jump seats. 

Although the boat seats fewer troops than the MPAC Mk.1 and Mk.2, it now sports better seats and are now front facing. This provides more comform for the passenger.
Photo cropped from Propmech's video.

It is difficult to assess if the MPAC Mk. 3 is indeed longer than the MPAC Mk. 2, based on the technical specifications provided by the Philippine Navy during the tender process. This can only be verified by a reliable source like Propmech itself, or by side by side viewing of the Mk. 2 and Mk. 3 MPACs. The size difference is important since it allows the boat to have a mounting for the Spike-ER missile launcher that is scheduled to be installed in the next few months.

MPAC Mk. 3 BA-488 conducting tests at Subic Bay.
Photo provided by a MaxDefense community member who wish to remain anonymous.

No information yet available on the tests conducted on the first boat, with hull number BA-488, although Propmech still has enough time to make the necessary adjustments should it need to do so.

MaxDefense will be updating its readers and community members on the MPAC Mk. 3 development as more information is are made available to us.


  1. the flat bow hmm...why retain if it doesnt have purpose? doesnt it just induce drag when waves hit that flat surface? just asking...

    1. yeah, noticed it too. it will make more drag to the vessel following that this vessel will surely make a lot of splashes. it seems very odd for that part of the vessel to be maintained if it doesn't have any use at all.

      what can that be sir max?

    2. The primary limit to hull speed is IIRC hull *length* and below hull shaping, not if the bow is pointy or not. This is not a fighter jet, aerodynamics don't count, hydrodynamics is what you should be looking at.

      Look up displacement hull max speed in Google, they'll have a more comprehensive explanation for you.

  2. wow, is it me or i just happen to be the first to pose a comment.

  3. Excellent photos you have there Mr. Max. Just wondering how many MPACs the navy is deemed after...

  4. Sir max, there is an article stating that the navy starting to plan the design of MPAC 4, are they now considering to make more bigger so it can accommodate much bigger missiles? Like the medium size

    1. It would probably be of larger size to accommodate all the intended weapon systems including the missile system.

  5. i think they should start building it right away for the phil navy since the asg, maute groups and other lawless criminals from mindanao are already loitering and heading their way in visayas regions to terrorize our own citizens and kidnap for ransom foreign guests in this time of summer getaways...paging the dnd for starts of procurement process


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