Two surveillance aircraft has been offered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines by the United States which will be used to assist the Philippine military in gathering intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations against terrorists, the United States Ambassador to the Philippines said Tuesday.
US Ambassador Sung Kim said that a two ISR-capable Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft loaded with a sophisticated equipment will be turned over to the Philippine government in a couple of weeks.
Kim highlighted that the US is profoundly worried about the security situation in Marawi City, where government forces have been battling against local terror groups for over two months now.
According to Kim in an interview on ANC’s Headstart. He said, “We have been providing a very important support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in terms of information sharing, intelligence sharing, training, technical advice as well as equipment grants.”
He also noted out that US troops are present in Mindanao under the mutual defense treaty between the two countries.
Kim added that the US is focused on assisting with the recovery program for Marawi.
He said, “Beyond stabilization, we want to help the Philippine government with rebuilding and reconstruction of Marawi,”
In spite of President Rodrigo Duterte’s past against the United States, Kim said that the Philippines-US relations stay solid.
“My sense is that the Philippine government starting with President Duterte remains committed to the relationship. There’s mutual respect for the relationship and mutual appreciation for the importance of the relationship,” Kim said.
In the midst of rising international concern about Islamist militancy and piracy in the region, the naval forces of the US and the Philippines as of late held coordinated patrols in the Sulu Sea. Wherein it shows a great example of the strength, alliance, and partnership between the Philippines and the US.
“It’s clear that our commitment to the Philippines, to the defense of the Philippines, under the mutual defense treaty is absolute.” Sung Kim added.
Meanwhile, a written report from Military and Aerospace Electronics, it said that the U.S. Air Force airborne surveillance experts are working with L-3 Communication Systems West segment based in Salt Lake City Utah, to convert Cessna light single-engine turboprop aircraft to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.
The Cessna 208B is nearly 42 feet long with a 52-foot wingspan. It can carry more than two tons of passengers, fuel, cargo, and other payloads. The plane has a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-140 turboprop engine that can carry the aircraft at speeds to 185 knots and altitudes to 25,000 feet. It has Garmin G1000 avionics with GFC700 integrated digital automatic flight control system.
The Cessna 208B ISR variant carries an electro-optical sensor pod and other surveillance equipment and can be modified to carry Hellfire missiles for ground-attack missions.-JCE.