Navy sea surveillance gets $18-M boost from US

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 22 2017 05:00 PM

MANILA - The Philippines on Tuesday received from the US a $18-million (P925 million) radar system that is expected to enhance its surveillance capabilities at sea.

The Tethered Aerostat Radar System or TARS will allow the Philippine Navy to block the movements of terrorists, intercept criminals and guard fishermen, said US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission to the Philippines Michael Klecheski.

Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Admiral Joseph Mercado received the grant on behalf of the Philippines in ceremonies in San Antonio, Zambales, the site of past war games between US and Filipino troops.

Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim also posted a photo of the radar system on his Twitter page, saying it is "another sign of strong US-PH partnership."

The TARS will also be used in humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

The project is part of the 5-year US Maritime Security Initiative (MSI) program, which aims to help upgrade the security capabilities of Southeast Asian countries.

Klecheski said the US is expected to transfer in the coming months several other intelligence and reconnaissance equipment to the Philippine Air Force and Navy.