FLORIDABLANCA, Pampanga — The Philippines on Tuesday received its P6.84-billion Ground Based Air Defense System, and a new medium-lift transport aircraft for the Philippine Air Force.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the acquisition of the new equipment is a testament to the commitment of government to modernize the military.
“While we strive to live with peace with others, it is crucial that our Armed Forces would be modernized to be ready for all eventualities,” the military's commander-in-chief said in a speech.
“We fortify our capabilities to provide humanitarian assistance in times of calamities and disasters,” he said.
“This is a clear testament of our strong defense relations, one that we can development in other areas besides defense."
The quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, drones was acquired from Israeli company Rafael Advance Defense Systems, according to information from the Air Force.
“This is the third level of defense,” PAF Commander General Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony David Canlas told reporters.
“Kung makalusot yung threat sa ating mga fighter aircrafts… ito ngayon ang sasagot, magnu-neutralize doon sa threat na pumapasok para hindi nila masira yung ating critical infrastructure,” he explained.
“This will be deployed in strategic locations sa ating bansa."
So far, only Singapore and the Philippines have aquired the asset in Southeast Asia, a statement from PAF read.
“Its purpose is to protect vital installations from aerial attacks, surveillance threats and create a secondary air defense cover after manned fighter aircraft,” it said.
“The GBADS is projected not only to protect vital military installations and various ground and air assets but is also intended to secure the nation’s centers of gravity, critical government utilities and other essential facilities and assets of national importance.”
The C-295 medium lift aircraft, meanwhile, is the second of three units bought from Spanish manufacturer Airbus Defense and Space.
The first unit was delivered in March, while the third unit is set to be turned over in February next year.
The aircraft - which has a flight endurance of up to 11 hours - “will be used to provide transport of personnel and logistical supplies for projecting military force, as well as provide air mobility for humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” the PAF said.
“When a nation enjoys peace, there is stability. When there is stability, there is progress,” Marcos said.
“The peace can only be achieved when there is security, when you know you can protect yourself, your possessions and those you hold dear,” he added.
The arrival of the new assets “forms part of the core competency” that the Air Force is developing for its flight plan 2028 and 2040, Canlas said.
The Philippines expects the arrival of more equipment that would enhance the country’s fighter aircraft fleet and its airlift capabilities, he said.
The country is also expecting an “air defense system from Japan,” the Air Force chief said.
“They are made up of second horizon radars and this will be placed at strategic locations all over the country,” he said, noting that the Philippines currently has 3 radars facing the West Philippine Sea.
“When we get the radars from japan, we will be covering the entire Philippines from the eastern portion of Luzon to Visayas and then the Mindanao region,” he added.
The Israeli and Spanish ambassadors in the country both committed to expand their defense collaborations with the Philippines.
“Israel and the Philippines have a history of collaboarting in areas of life and death,” said Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss, citing how the Southeast Asian nation accepted Jewish refugees and voted in favor of Israel establishing its own state during a United Nations convention.
“I am proud that in the last few years, Israeli companies have supplied equipment in the fight against terror in the Philippines,” he said.
“We have to make sure that this collaboration will expand in the coming years,” he added, pointing out that Israel has opened a defense attache office in its embassy in Manila.
“We will be happy to collaborate even more in the sector of agri food technology… and many other areas,” he said.
Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Miguel Utray Delgado said his country would be “delighted" to see how the aerospace industry develops in the Philippines.
“Spain is a faithful ally of the Philippines that remain commited to the modernization process of the Armed Forces,” he said.
Spain’s expertise in aerospace technology “could be transferred to the Philippines in future collaborations,” he said.
The modernization program for the AFP has been a staple in Marcos’ speeches whenever he attends military programs since he ascended to power in June.
On Monday, Marcos told the Philippine Marines that “the government remains firm and committed to enhancing the Marine Corps by means of the AFP modernization.”
Last month, the President assured the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) that his administration would back “efforts and initiatives to modernize” the maritime agency to ensure the “better delivery of service to the nation.”
In July, Marcos told the PAF that the government would provide them with “more state-of-the-art fighter planes and armed with more firepower.”
FROM THE ARCHIVE