The Philippines has acquired six ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) through the US foreign military financing programme (FMF) for a sum of $13.76m.
Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson major Aristides Galang was quoted by The Philippine News Agency as saying that the six new autonomous aircraft would enable the military to carry out its air, ground, and naval operations.
The new ScanEagle drones will be operated by the PAF’s 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing, Galang said in a statement.
Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that ScanEagle UAV can be deployed by the military for patrolling missions.
The UAVs can be used to patrol the sealanes down south as part of efforts to prevent pirates and other lawless elements from attacking the country’s seas.
During the turnover ceremonies of the aerial equipment held in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City, Lorenzana said in a statement that patrolling the nation’s sealanes using drones is cheaper compared to deploying manned aircraft for the mission.
Lorenzana said: “These UAVs are welcome to the air force, now you have your own UAVs and you can support our operations in the south and we can send these birds to patrol our sealanes there in Sulu, Eastern Sulu and waters near Malaysia.”
Lorenzana further added: “And instead of sending out manned aircraft, you can send this, it will be cheaper, easier and faster.”
The UAVs can be deployed to support missions such as internal security, anti-terrorism, limited maritime patrol, and humanitarian assistance disaster relief.
They can also be used to monitor illegal logging and fishing activities, in addition to performing aerial survey.