Future threat: Military wants anti-drone tech after attack on Saudi oil facility

RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2019 11:46 AM

View of the damaged site of Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia. Hamad l Mohammed, Reuters

The government should consider procuring anti-drone technology, following the drone attack in one of the oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia last month, according to the flag officer-in-command of the Philippine Navy.

Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said the Philippine military badly needs anti-drone technology to protect military facilities, camps, and even water assets against drones.

“This is the future threat, 'yung drones that can attack facilities. Nakakatakot na biglang atakahin ng drones 'yung mga bagong barko or where our munitions are located. Kapag tinira mabigat, malaki ang damage. And even our camps and bases it should be protected. Mayroong pino-proposed ang Israel, UK and even Russia how to protect our infrastructure from possible drone attacks,” Empedrad said during the 23rd anniversary celebration of Naval Forces Western Mindanao in Zamboanga City on Wednesday.

Military officials have drafted a proposal for the procurement of counter-drone technology, which could detect and prevent unauthorized drones from entering a restricted military facility.

“Mayroon na tayong proposal, the Air Force came up with the proposal, either gayahin namin 'yun, we also have our proposal but we check namin kung sino ang mag-fit sa requirements," he said.

He said since they still don’t have the capabilities to counter drone attacks, he ordered Navy personnel to be extra alert and use automatic rifles to pin down drones that pose a threat to camp’s security.

“Visual lang muna, meron naman tayong mga gun, that can destroy incoming drones, so we just have to alert, para kung makakita tayo na palapit na drones na nakita sa radar, we can hit that drone using automatic weapons,” Empedrad added.

There has been no reported drone attacks in the country by local terrorist groups. However, Empedrad is not discounting this possibility as local terrorists are now becoming more creative on how to stage their attacks.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy is expected to deploy more military vessels and equipment in Western Mindanao and Basulta areas, as intensified operations against the Abu Sayyaf bandits and communist group heightened.

Empedrad said they would deploy additional multi-purpose attack craft, amphibious assault vehicle and even missile-capable vessel in Mindanao in a bid to crush remaining bandits in Basulta areas.