With the announcement on Tuesday by the U.S. state department to sell armed drones to friendly and allied countries under strict rules. The Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization programs spokesman Colonel Restituto Padilla said Philippine military is interested and is now planning to acquire 12 armed drones and 6 surveillance drones from United States to be used for intelligence and surveillance operations.
The acquisition plan will boost its military, strengthen its capabilities not only for the worsening situation in Mindanao but also in monitoring and protecting west Philippines sea against China intrusions as well.
Over the past decade, drones have become something of a poster child for America’s war on terror. While selling Predators and Reapers to other countries might raise a few eyebrows, the State Department announcement goes to great lengths to clarify sharing this technology doesn’t carry with it any major risk.
The policy, the details of which are classified, comes after a two-year review amid growing demand from US allies for the new breed of weapons that have played a key role in US military action in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen.
It could also help US companies boost sales of military and commercial drones in an increasingly competitive global market.
Privately held General Atomics, maker of the Predator and Reaper drones, Northrop Grumman Corp, Textron Inc and other arms makers have been urging Washington for years to loosen strict export curbs, which they say have caused them to lose orders to Israel and others in the growing market.
Recipients are not to use military drones to conduct unlawful surveillance or use unlawful force against their domestic populations. And, as appropriate, recipients shall provide drone operators technical and doctrinal training on the use of these systems to reduce the risk of unintended injury or damage.