The US has delivered a range of military items, including the ScanEagle unmanned aerial system (UAS), a 100 TOW-2A missiles, guided bombs and imaging systems to the Philippines over the past week.
The latest delivery was the Boeing Insitu-built UAS, which was delivered to the Philippine Navy Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite, on November 25.
Earlier in the week, the US handed over 100 TOW-2A wire-guided missiles, 12 Improved Target Acquisition Systems (ITAS), and 24 MK 82 guided bombs. The arms deliveries are worth an estimated $33 million.
The UAS delivery alone is worth Php710-million ($14.79 million) and is expected to enhance the Philippine Armed Forces’ maritime domain awareness and border security capabilities. The Philippines Air Force and Navy will operate a total of 14 ScanEagle UAS.
The newly-delivered ScanEagle will provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to the AFP 71st Maritime Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance Squadron (71 MUARS) of the Philippine Fleet’s Naval Air Wing, which will operate the aircraft out of Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui, San Antonio, Zambales. 71 MUARS is the AFP’s leading unit for unmanned maritime ISR operations.
“Transferring the ScanEagle system for operation by the Maritime Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance Squadron represents the steadfast commitment by the United States to our partners in the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Kimberly Kelly.
“Aside from its primary use for ISR, the ScanEagle UAS will greatly aid our organization in the effective assessment of the subject areas, timely decision-making, and prompt action in the conduct of territorial defense, internal security operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster repose,” said Philippine Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Loumer Bernabe.
The Philippines is by far the largest recipient of US military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region, according to the US embassy in Manilla. Since 2015, the United States has delivered more than Php33 billion ($650 million) worth of planes, ships, armored vehicles, small arms, and other military equipment to the Philippines.
Earlier this month, the Philippines took delivery of the first batch of Sikorsky S70-i Blackhawk helicopters that were manufactured in Poland under license from Sikorsky USA.