The United States government turned over an P807-million surveillance and reconnaissance system for the C-130 Hercules aircraft to the Philippine Air Force at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Tuesday.
According to the US Embassy in a statement, the Special Airborne Mission Installation and Response (SABIR) system "will increase the Philippine military’s maritime domain awareness, airborne command and control, counter terrorism, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities."
"The transfer of the SABIR system today, along with the Scan Eagle system this past March, and the C-208 aircraft in August 2017, represents our steadfast commitment to enhancing the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines," US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said during the ceremony.
In an ambush interview with reporters, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the SABIR system would help in monitoring the Philippine territories as well as assessing the extent of damages during calamities.
"For patrolling the West Philippine Sea, the East Philippine Sea, Philippine Rise and Sulu Sea... so this is actually what I was telling you a while ago about the gap in our surveillance capabilities. So now we have it," Lorenzana said.
"We can also use this for surveying devastated areas by typhoons, before and after, so that we can assess the damages," he added.
Kim, meanwhile, vowed that the US would continue to support the modernization of the Philippine military.
"We have a long-standing partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, we have great respect for the AFP so we wanna do our part as friend, partner, and allies to support the modernization efforts... in all sense particularly in the area of intelligence and reconnaissance, surveillance," Kim said.
According to the US Embassy, the SABIR system is a bolt-on avionics module for the C-130 Hercules aircraft. It upgrades the aircraft with advanced command and control, communications, computer, and surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities without sacrificing the aircraft’s primary function as a cargo plane. — Anna Felicia Bajo/BM, GMA News