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Philippine Navy Gets First Ever Drones for 'Eye in the Sky'

For disaster response and intelligence.
Just now
Navy officials receive from the U.S. a Boeing-made ScanEagle UAS or drone system in this photo taken at the Philippine Navy Headquarters on Nov. 25, 2020.
Photo/s: Philippine Navy/Handout

The Philippine Navy on Wednesday received from the U.S. its first ever drones, giving it a much-needed "eye in the sky" for disaster response and intelligence gathering, officials said.

The Boeing-made fixed wing ScanEagle Unammed Aerial System or UAS is composed of eight air vehicles, two launchers, skyhook and ground control station valued at $14.8 million (P712.3 million).

"This is a big step in the modernization of the Philippine Navy," said Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, Navy Flag Officer-in-Command.

Before the drones, the Navy's eyes in the sky was limited to radar, helicopters and islander turbo-prop planes, Bacordo told reporters.


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Navy officials pour champagne on a Boeing-made ScanEagle UAS or drone in this photo taken on Nov. 25, 2020. Philippine Navy/Handout
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In disasters such as the recent Super Typhoon Rolly, the drones can survey the aftermath in four hours, compared to 24 hours using its current aircraft, Bacordo said. This speed will make the assessment and dispatch of relief supplies faster.

"In the area of territorial defense, it will expand our horizon," Bacordo said. The Philippines is caught in a long-running dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea.


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The Acting Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Kimberly Kelly, turned over the UAS system to the Navy.

“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,” she said.

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