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Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (Batch 4) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy

The Philippine Navy has embarked on the acquisition of a fourth batch of three (3) Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts (MPAC) to improve the capability of the Littoral Combat Force in securing coastal / littoral waters of the country.

The Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (Batch 4) Acquisition Project was among those proposed for acquisition as part of the Horizon 1 Second List of Projects under the Revised AFP Modernization Program, which was approved in 2015.


The project will involve only the acquisition of platforms (the boats itself), while other components will be funded separately.

Above are the actual MPAC (Batch 4) during commissioning last 23 September 2019. Photo taken from and credited to Chiara Zambrano of ABS-CBN News.

The MPAC Mk. III, which is similar to the ones for delivery for the MPAC Batch 4 Acquisition Project. Weapon systems would be acquired separately. Photo provided to MaxDefense by a source.
Overview:

The Philippine Navy has seen the value of the Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC), after having several units delivered from earlier acquisitions. The MPACs are used as assault boats for special operations units of the Philippine Navy like the Naval Special Operation Group (NAVSOG) and Marine Special Operations Group (MARSOG), allowing for quick insertion and extraction while providing fire support from its machine guns.

Due to lack of assets, the Philippine Navy also used the MPAC as fast interceptors along the busy waters of Western Mindanao. But it was found that the boats were lacking in firepower in this mission.


Further planning by the PN suggested that the Littoral Combat Force may use the MPAC as a platform for "swarm tactics" against a larger naval force, by attacking larger warships in groups and using missiles to do damage.

As part of Horizon 1 phas Priority Projects, the Philippine Navy tendered for a up-armed MPAC variant, which was won by the Joint Venture of Propmech Corporation - Lung Teh Shipbuilding, which resulted to the MPAC Mk. III after making changes to the previous MPAC Mk. II and incorporating the need to install the Rafael Typhoon Spike-ER Multiple Launching System (MLS) and Rafael Mini Typhoon 12.7mm remote controlled weapon stations (RCWS).

This resulted in reduced space for assault troops, to provide space for weapon controllers and computers.


With more funding becoming available for the DND to allow a "2nd List" for Horizon 1 phase, the PN made use of the chance to order another batch of MPACs based on the MPAC Mk. III. But the available funds was not enough to allow for the acquisition of the weapon system. Inflation and cost increases, plus the reduced value of the Philippine pesos versus the US dollar means that the Philippine Navy would have to adjust its procurement.

Since Php270 million approved for the project was not enough anymore to acquire three (3) MPAC Mk. III attack crafts, the PN decided to use this project to acquire the attack crafts WITHOUT the Integrated Logistics Support (ILS), communications systems, additional armoring of vital parts of the boats, and the proper seats for passengers. This was then made into a separate project as Lot 2 of the MPAC Combat Systems and Capability Upgrade together with the acquisition of the weapon systems and missile ammunition.


As expected, the Joint Venture of Propmech Corporation and Lung Teh Shipbuilding won the tender for the MPAC Batch 4 Acquisition Project, and a contract was signed on December 2017.

Delivery of the boats are expected to be made by mid-2019.

The MPAC Mk. III Series 2018/Batch 4 are expected to have the same dimensions as the earlier Mk. III variant acquired as part of Batch 3, which are as follows:


* Length: at least 17 meters long
* Displacement: less than 30 tons (without the weapon systems)
* Maximum Speed: at least 45 knots
* Range: at least 300nmi at transit speed

* Propulsion: 2 diesel engines coupled to water jet system
* Complement: 2 officers and 5 crew memebers, plus 8 fully equipped troops.
* As-delivered Standard Weapons: 2 M60 7.62mm light machine guns (supplied by the Philippine Navy) in addition to those to be delivered separately under the MPAC Combat Systems and Capability Upgrade Lot 1 project.


Project Summary:
Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (Batch 4) Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 25 September 2019.

* End User: Philippine Navy (Littoral Combat Force)

* Quantity: 3 nos.

* Modernization Phase: Horizon 1 2nd List Projects of RAFPMP

* Project ABC: Php270,000,000.00


* Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding through Procurement Services of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM)

* Source of Funding: GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund

* SARO Release: SARO-BMB-D-17-0024343 dated 15 December 2017 worth Php269,799,999.99 (full amount), released 18 December 2017.

* Winning Proponent: Joint Venture of Propmech Corporation (Philippines) and Lung Teh Shipbuilding (Taiwan)


* Product for Delivery: Lung Teh Multi-Purpose Attack Craft Mk. III

* Contract Price: Php269,999,999.99

* First post by MaxDefense: TBA

* Searching Hashtag: #PNMPACBatch4Acquisition


* Status: Delivery completed as of September 2019, commissioned into the Philippine Navy on 23 September 2019. PROJECT COMPLETE.

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U P D A T E S:
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07 March 2017:

MaxDefense released a blog entry confirming plans for the acquisition for a 4th batch of Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts, which would be also armed with missile systems like the earlier batch prior to this project.

Discussions was also made on the project's history and what are expected of the MPACs, which can be found on the link below:



"Acquisition of a 4th Batch of 3 MPACs for the Philippine Navy Underway" - first posted on 07 March 2017


An illustration of the missile-equipped MPAC Mk. 3, which is similar to what will be delivered for the 4th batch of MPACs for the Philippine Navy. Photo taken from the old Timawa.net defense forum.
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30 December 2017:

MaxDefense posted in its social media page that one of the SARO released last 18 December 2017 was for the Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) Batch 4, which is covered under SARO-BMB-D-17-0024343 worth Php269,799,999.99. Three (3) brand new units will be acquired using this budget, and would be likely acquired through Public Bidding which may start by early to mid 2018.


MaxDefense expects that local company Propmech Corporation and its partner Lung Teh Shipbuilding would be at the forefront again, considering they supplied the last 3 batches of earlier MPACs. It is also expected that this batch of MPACs will be armed with missiles, most probably Rafael's Spike-ER similar to those to be armed on the MPAC Mk.3, and would be funded and acquired separately from the MPACs itself.


An MPAC Mk. 3 during its pre-delivery testing conducted by Propmech Corp. and the Philippine Navy. Photo shared exclusively to MaxDefense by a source.
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24 June 2018:

MaxDefense released another blog entry discussing the MPAC Batch 4 acquisition project further than before, including discussions on the MPAC Combat Systems and Capability Upgrade Project that is part of the Horizon 2 phase.


This would be avoid confusion with the MPAC Batch 3, which are also using the MPAC Mk. III platform and were also acquired under the Horizon 1 phase, although as part of the Horizon 1 phase Priority Projects.

Discussions was also made on how the acquisition was divided into different projects, with details on them  and what are expected of the MPACs, which can be found on the link below:


'Philippine Navy to Receive 3 More Missile-Ready Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts under Horizon 1 Phase" - first posted on 24 June 2018


The MPAC Mk. III, but these were from the Batch 3 acquisition. The Batch 4 will use the same Mk. III design. Photo shared to MaxDefense by a source.
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02 October 2018:
MaxDefense posted on its social media page: As part of the Kaohshiung Maritime 2018 exhibition, Jane's received confirmation from an industry official that the Philippine Navy's 4th batch of Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) will inherit the design of the Mk. III that Lung Teh and Propmech delivered earlier to the Philippine Navy. Only minor modifications would be made to accommodate more ammunition and troop-carried firearms. It would also be missile-firing like the earlier Mk. III.

This is in line with MaxDefense's previous blog entry wherein we reported the design of the upcoming MPAC Batch 4, which we called MPAC Mk. III series 2018, The boats are funded by 2nd List of Horizon 1 funds, while the weapon systems are to be funded by Horizon 2 program.

More on the report from Jane's Navy International by clicking the link HERE.


A model of the MPAC Mk. III as displayed by Lung Teh Shipbuilding in the Kaohsiung International Maritime and Defense Exhibition 2018. Photo credit to IHS Markit, taken from Jane's Navy International.
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24 May 2019:

PTV News reported that the Philippine Navy will receive the 4th batch of three Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts (MPAC) this year. These will be also armed with Rafael Spike-ER short range small surface-to-surface missiles and a Rafael Mini Typhoon 12.7mm RCWS.

The boats themselves were ordered as part of the 2nd List of Horizon 1 phase of the RAFPMP. While the report did not mention dates, MaxDefense sources confirmed that the TENTATIVE arrival of the boats will be this June 2019, although that doesn't mean actual delivery to the Philippine Navy, but rather the arrival in preparation for installation of subsystems and additional equipment.

The boats themselves are being built in Taiwan by Lung Teh Shipbuilding using the MPAC Mk.3 design with some improvements, while the armoring, installation of communications and weapons, jumpseats and other equipment will be made in the Philippines by Propmech Corp. Installation of additional items and weapons, as well as the Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) for the MPACs are paid for under the Horizon 2 phase of RAFPMP.

The missiles, launchers, and RCWS will be supplied by Rafael Advance Systems Ltd. of Israel which were ordered through Government to Government (G2G) deal with Israel's Ministry of Defense. These are acquired under the Horizon 2 phase of the RAFPMP.

More on the report from  PTV News by clicking the link HERE.

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02 June 2019:

MaxDefense posted a photo on our social media page last 29 May 2019, wherein we asked our community members to guess what it is.

Its actually the rear-end of the MPAC Batch 4, which arrived from Taiwan recently but will be received by Propmech Corporation as the boats require the installation of several items including communications systems, armoring, jump seats, and preparation for its hand-over to the Philippine Navy by August 2019.


The photo also appears to be the first publicly-available photo of the actual MPAC Batch 4.



Credits to original source of photo.

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04 June 2019:

Another report from PTV News mentioned that the Philippine Navy confirmed that the three MPAC Batch 4 crafts, which would be armed with Spike-ER missiles in the future, will be delivered to them by August 2019.

More on the report from  PTV News by clicking the link HERE.

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28 August 2019:
As posted on our social media community page:

The Philippine Navy confirmed that the last 4 units of KAAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) arrived earlier this month, and will be commissioned with the Philippine Navy (Marines) together with 3 Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts (MPAC) which are scheduled for delivery next month.

This will allow the completion of the Amphibious Assault Vehicle acquisition project, part of the Horizon 1 Phase Priority Projects under RAFPMP. So far no plans have been made for additional units despite the PN planning to acquire 2 more Landing Platform Docks.

Meanwhile the MPAC Batch 4 are part of the 2nd List of Horizon 1 phase projects. But its weapons, armoring, communication and orher extras are funded under the Horizon 2 phase Priority Projects.

While the MPACs will be armed with Spike ER missiles, MaxDefense can confirm that this won't happen next month and may take some more time before delivery happens from Israel.


In the meantime the MPACs can be used without its automated weapons.


Three MPAC Mk.3 missile-armed MPACs during live fire exercises. Photo taken from Philippine Navy.
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23 September 2019:
As posted on our social media community page
:

Ms. Frances Mangosing of Inquirer.net / Philippine 
Daily Inquirer posted these photos on her Twitter account, during the commissioning ceremonies for the Philippine Navy's 3 new Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (Batch 4) fast boats and 4 KAAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles today at PN headquarters in Manila.

As expected, the MPACs acquired from the JV of Lung Teh Shipbuilding and Propmech Corp. would not have their missile launchers and RCWS yet as they are acquired under a separate contract between the DND and Rafael Advance Defense Systems of Israel.

Weapons shown on the MPAC are two manually-operated 7.62mm general purpose machine guns.

In total, the PN now has 12 MPACs in service.

Credits to Ms. Mangosing for all 4 photos shown below.
https://twitter.com/FMangosingINQ/status/1176025084672102400



Photo credited to and taken from Frances Mangosing.
Photo of MPACs during commissioning taken from and credited to Chiara Zambrano of ABS-CBN News.
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With the ships delivered and commissioned to the Philippine Navy, MaxDefense believes we can now consider the Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (Batch 4) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy as COMPLETED.

All other upgrade works (ie. missile system installation) are covered by a different contract and project, and will be discussed separately.


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=============== First edit and release: 22 June 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines

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