US providing PH with reconnaissance platform, maritime sensors

The United States is providing the Philippines with military assistance to enhance surveillance, reconnaissance, and enable secured information sharing between US Pacific Command and Philippines maritime command centers, this was announced by United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations April 8.

Last year the US government announce its five-year Maritime Security Initiative, a commitment to help partner nations like Philippines address common challenges. The initiative has a total budget of US$425-million.

“We’ve just released the first tranche of this money, nearly 80 percent of which is going to the Philippines. There it will help modernize the technology and train staff at the Philippines National Coast Watch Center, enhance an information network to enable the sharing of classified communications between U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii and key Philippines maritime command centers, provide an aerostat reconnaissance platform (airship), and outfit Philippine navy patrol vessels with better sensors so they can see and do more in the region’s waters,” Carter said.

Carter, who is visiting the Philippines this coming week, said he will visit Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija and Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, two of the five Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) Agreed Locations.

“These two things, EDCA and the Maritime Security Initiative will take the U.S.-Philippines alliance capability to a new level, one has not seen in decades,” he added.