Photo: IAI

The Department of National Defense are close to forging a deal with an Israeli firm for a  P2.68 billion worth of three air surveillance radars that will help boost the territorial defense capabilities of the Philippines.

According to reports, DND Undersecretary of Finance, Munitions, Installations and Materiel Fernando Manalo said that the government and the Israeli company Elta System Ltd. could sign the contract anytime.

“The signing will be done anytime,” Manalo said when asked for the status of the air surveillance radars project.

“The radars will enhance the capabilities of the Air Force in terms of maritime domain awareness,” he added.

“Palawan is a new location but even the old ones have to be restored or we have to build new basing facilities. This is part of the overall capability upgrade. Even without the incidents that came in recent years, this was already programmed,” Undersecretary of Civil Veterans & Reserve Affairs Eduardo Batac told reporters on Wednesday, July 9.

The radar systems can cover a 350-nautical mile radius, Batac said.

An airborne view of the Terra test site, where integration testing of the IAI Elta TERRA dual-band multi-radar system is taking place. Photo: IAI

In 1950’s until the early 1990’s the Philippines used to have first rate air defense system, which also complemented by the US at the time where they used to maintain bases in the country.

“Over the years, we have lost almost all of our air defense equipment. Our fighters are old and there are no more spare parts to maintain them,” Batac said.

As one of the weakest in terms of military capabilities in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is under pressure to strengthen its defense capabilities amid China’s aggressive expansion in the West Philippine Sea. -John Esconde