PH gets new surveillance aircraft from US seen to improve West PH Sea patrols

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) — The Philippines on Tuesday received another intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft from the United States to help improve military capabilities, including patrols in the West Philippine Sea.

The US turned over the brand new Cessna-208B (C-208B) Grand Caravan ISR aircraft, the third such aircraft in the Philippine Air Force (PAF) inventory, in ceremonies at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga,

It is part of a grant worth over $17.6 million (over ₱997 million), with the first two units delivered in 2017.

“Our ability to protect our sovereign rights in our exclusive economic zone depends highly on the equipment that we have, so definitely this aircraft will help us boost our capability in making sure that we secure our territory and our sovereign rights,” Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. told reporters.

The government said the aircraft can operate up to 912 nautical miles and stay airborne for five hours and 30 minutes.

It is equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and a communication system that can feed real-time information — key features that are critical for maritime security and border patrol operations.

The PAF noted that the aircraft will also be significant in counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts.

It added that the C-208B will be used in humanitarian assistance and disaster response, specifically in the conduct of rapid damage assessment and needs analysis during times of calamities and disasters.

CNN Philippines Correspondent David Santos contributed to this report.