The Philippine Navy (PN) successfully test-fired an Israeli-made Spike ER (Extended Range) missile from its Multi-Purpose Assault Craft (MPAC) positioned off Limay, Bataan on August 9.
The missile, developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, accurately neutralized its target at a distance of six kilometers, according to Cmdr. Jonathan Zata, a spokesman with the Navy. He added that the firing was part of the Sea Acceptance Test (SAT) of the missile system.
The Spike ER is the Philippine Navy’s first ever ship-borne anti-surface missile system.
“The PN together with teams from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee of the Department of National Defense (DND) oversaw the test-firing activity that included the SAT for the mini-Typhoon machine gun system and SAT for the Spike-Extended Range missile launching system.
“The activity is necessary to test, inspect and accept the weapons and its systems in accordance with the contract for the final acceptance of the system,” Zata said.
The PN MPAC Acquisition Project entered into a contract with Rafael, through SIBAT of Israel Ministry of Defense, for the supply and integration of the weapons systems to MPAC Mark III platforms. On April 15, 2017, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana approved the Notice to Proceed.
The MPACs were constructed by the Subic-based Propmech Corporation and activated on May 22, 2017.
“Another actual live firing demonstration of the Spike ER missile will be scheduled with the Commander-In-Chief, the President of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in attendance,” he added.
Spike ER electro-optically guided multipurpose missile is the extended range version of Spike man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile and anti-personnel missile with a tandem-charge HEAT warhead developed by Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
The missile has a minimum range of 400 m and a maximum range of 8 km. Penetration is around 1,000 mm (39 in) of Rolled homogeneous armour (RHA). The weight of the missile is 34 kg (74 lb 15 oz), the launchers are 30 kg (66 lb 2 oz) and 55 kg (121 lb 4 oz) respectively for the vehicle and air-launched versions.
The Philippine Navy’s Multi-purpose Attack Craft Mk 3 (mounted) and Finnish Coastal Jaegers (infantry carried) operates Spike ER missile in anti-ship role.
In case of Philippine Navy, the Spike ER missiles is mounted on the MPAC Mk3 craft as a Typhoon MLS-ER Naval Missile System. The system includes Spike-ER missiles, launchers, an Electro Optical director and a fire control system.
The light-weight, stabilized system was developed to be installed on a variety of platforms, ranging from Rigid Hull Inflated Boats (RHIBs) to larger boats and ships.
Typhoon MLS-ER features day and night operation and includes Fire-and-Forget, as well as Fire-and-Observe and Update modes of operation. This enables the gunner to switch between targets after launch, avoid friendly fire, conduct surveillance/damage assessment and attack hidden targets.
Additionally, the Typhoon MLS-ER features a Fire and Steer mode, in which the gunner can launch the missile without pre-locking onto the target and manually steer it to the target. Typhoon MLS-ER includes day and night surveillance and tracking cameras for independent weapon system operation.
Multipurpose Assault Craft (MPAC) – Philippine Navy
Multipurpose Assault Craft (MPAC) is a type of fast assault craft developed for the Philippine Navy to transport troops at a high speed and then land them on the beach. The original production version of the craft, designated Mark One (Mk 1), with total of three is speculated to be built by Taiwanese company Lung Teh Shipbuiling Co.
The 16.5 m, 19-tonne vessels are powered by two Caterpillar C32 engines driving Hamilton waterjets, and can attain a top speed of 45 kt.
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.
MPAC Mk 3, the current production build of the craft, is able to operate up to Sea State 5. The vessels are armed with Spike ER missiles, a Mini-Typhoon Remote Weapons Station (RWS) with a 12.7 mm machine gun and two 7.62 mm machine guns. Both MK 2 and Mk 3 versions of the craft are built by the Filipino company Propmech Corp.
In May 2018, the Department of National Defense (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.
Currently, a total of nine ships are in service with the Philippine Fleet’s Littoral Combat Force unit. An Mk 4 version (4th batch with 3 units) of the craft is also planned with similar specifications and armaments as the Mk 3 versions. The bidding for these boats are ongoing Post-Qualification as of July 2018.