MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) announced on Friday that it will establish coast watch centers and related facilities in the northern part of the country. The move is in line with the objective of boosting its maritime situational awareness capability.
Furthermore, in a related development, The Navy also announced that it is acquiring “shoulder-launched multi-purpose assault weapons” (SMAW) to give its Marine units the capability to neutralize bunkers and lightly armored vehicles. Maritime domain awareness capability refers to the ability of a nation’s armed forces to detect, monitor, and, if needed, drive away intruders from its territorial waters.
These were announced by PN vice commander Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad without divulging exact figures and locations for security reasons. Taccad said the strategic goal of maritime situational awareness, “as stipulated in our Active Archipelagic Defense Strategy, is to ensure effective maritime information support in order to facilitate effective decision-making for credible deterrence and support to national and regional cooperation for maritime security and development and governance.”
This project, he disclosed, is now undergoing pre-bidding, the PN vice commander added.
The SMAW, on the other hand, “is to fill the gaps in the direct fire support weapons capabilities of the Marines against different bunkers, concrete walls, light armor and other hard and ‘soft’ targets,” PN vice commander Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad said.
It is defined as a “rocket weapon with a maximum range of 1,500 meters. It will be issued to special Marine units who accompany fellow Marines in possible encounters with heavily-armed or fortified adversaries.
The weapon can be used for internal security and territorial defense operations.
Taccad added that SMAW is now undergoing evaluation and study by the Defense Acquisition System ad hoc committee.