THE Philippine Air Force (PAF) inaugurated on Tuesday, March 13, the six newly acquired unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) procured through the foreign military financing (FMF) grant from the United States.
The United States handed over six surveillance drones to its ally the Philippines on Tuesday, as part of efforts to boost its ability to tackle a growing threat from Islamist militants and to respond to natural disasters.
One of the examples of this had been the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle UAVs for the Philippines, which had been in the works since previous year as well and was acquired through foreign military financing.
The Philippines plans to deploy the drones for surveillance against militants and pirates, and for surveying the aftermath of disasters like typhoons, mudslides and earthquakes.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and USA ambassador Sung Kim were present at the turnover ceremony held at the PAF headquarters in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.
The United States is the most important military partner of the Philippines, with a decades-old treaty alliance and numerous pacts that enable rotational deployment of US troops and annual joint exercises. Though the official handover merely formalized an arrangement that had already been in the works since past year, it nonetheless was significant as both a contribution to the Philippines' still-limited military capabilities as well as an indicator of the continuing defense cooperation underway in the U.S.