Amid a growing rift with China over sea territory disputes, the Philippine Navy has two new multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) and here's the best part: they're proudly Filipino designed and made.
The two MPACs, constructed by Manila-based Propmech Corp., were brought to the Navy headquarters in Manila on Monday. The two boats, BA 486 and BA 487, are classified as landing assault craft and are "capable of providing a platform for fast interdiction of hostile targets, and rapid deployment and insertion of troops anywhere in the Philippines," the Navy Public Affairs Office said. They join a sister vessel that was delivered to the Navy in May.
According to Propmech, the MPACs can cruise at speeds of up to 42 knots and can carry 20 soldiers. They are armed with mounted .50-caliber machine guns.
They may be the newest, but MPACs are not the first nor the largest locally-made ships in the Navy, however. Propmech turned over the BRP Tagbanua, a locally-made landing utility craft, to the Navy in December last year. The Tagbanua is 51 meters long, can seat 200 soldiers, and has cargo space for six 6x6 trucks or three humvees, Propmech said.
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …