The Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed the acquisition of rockets and munitions from the US.
In late June this year, a Philippines Air Force (PAF) C-130 Hercules cargo jet travelled from the Philippines to Tucson, Arizona, US, and returned to the country equipped with the weapons on 1 July.
During the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council meeting, Lorenzana said that the rockets and munitions will be deployed on an attack aircraft.
Lorenzana further added that the weapons have been purchased even before the Marawi City crisis and are intended to increase the country's munition stockpile, which is currently being used in the ongoing efforts to neutralise the remaining Islamist Maute Group remnants.
The Philippine aircraft, which are currently engaged in the Marawi City, include the Rockwell OV-10 ‘Bronco’ attack aircraft, the new FA-50 ‘Fighting Eagle’ jet, SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 light attack aircraft, and the AgustaWestland AW-109 and MG-520 attack helicopters.
The C-130 Hercules was built by Lockheed Martin for the US Air Force (USAF) to transport large and heavy equipment, including artillery pieces and tanks, over long distances.
In a separate development, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte revealed plans to acquire additional military aircraft.
Speaking during the 70th Philippine Air Force anniversary, Duterte was quoted by Manila Bulletin as saying: “We will continue the ongoing modernisation programme by procuring additional attack and combat utility vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs to complement our already existing air assets.”