The Philippine Navy (PN) formally received its first-ever, advanced fixed-wing unmanned aerial system (UAS), the ScanEagle UAS, in a ceremony held at the Magluyan Hall in Naval Base Heracleo Alano here today, November 25.
The event was graced by the AFP deputy chief of staff, Vice Adm. Erick Kagaoan, who represented the Secretary of National Defense (SND) Delfin Lorenzana as the guest of honor and speaker. He was joined by the Navy chief, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, together with the Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Loumer P Bernabe, and other senior leaders of the PN.
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Kimberly Kelly and representatives from the U.S. Embassy turned over a ScanEagle UAS to the PN, which will be utilized by the recently activated squadron under the Philippine Fleet’s Naval Air Wing, the Maritime Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance Squadron (MUARS-71).
“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 Kelly.
In the SNDs remarks delivered by Vice Admiral Kagaoan, Secretary Lorenzana said that “this new assets will complement the same kind being operated by the 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing at the Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, which is very close to the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea that needs our consistent attention.”
This advanced UAS composed of eight air vehicles, two launchers, skyhook, and ground control station was acquired through the Maritime Security Initiative Program of the United States requested by the PN in 2017 and was formalized in February 2019, after series of dialogues with the Philippines Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG-Phil). It has an estimated cost of 14.79 million US dollars.
The ScanEagle UAS is a product of Insitu Inc., a subsidiary of the Boeing company. It is a small, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle primarily used for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) of the PN since it provides near real-time coverage and can be launched from both lands and aboard Navy’s capital ships.
With its longer range and prolonged flight time, it will improve our ships’ coverage in protecting our maritime waters, acting as the “Eye in the Sky,” which are also useful during humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations and search and rescue missions.
“Aside from its primary use for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (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 response,” said Philippine Fleet Commander Bernabe.
The implementation of this project manifests the steadfastness of the Philippine Navy and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to sustain its development and modernization to better fulfill its mandates even being at the forefront of our battle against the COVID19 pandemic and the ongoing disaster response and relief operations in light of calamities. — Philippine Navy