Troops used drones in Zamboanga crisis ops
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - December 20, 2013 - 5:23pm

MANILA, Philippines - Government forces used drones to conduct spying operations against rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who figured in the Zamboanga crisis last September.

Army spokesman Cpt. Anthony Bacus said the unmanned aerial vehicle system (UAS) can provide real-time imagery intelligence and video feed from an area with a range of three to seven kilometers. He said the range could be extended to up to 50 kilometers.

“The UAS had been instrumental in the successful conduct of operations against the rogue MNLF rebels in Zamboanga City last September that led to the surrender and arrest of several MNLF fighters under Nur Misuari,” Bacus said in a statement issued Friday.

The drones, which were developed by the Army last year, complements the troops’ human intelligence and signals intelligence capability being used in surveillance and  disaster response efforts.

Footages from drones help ground commanders make crucial decisions on important matters like troop deployment.

The unmanned aerial vehicles were among the items displayed in the Army booth that was set up in Camp Aguinaldo for the military’s 78th anniversary.

Each drone is equipped with a 12 mega pixel camera and weighs about 2.1 kilograms. It has a wing span of 178 centimeters and an altitude of 1,000 feet.

The development of the drones started last year and required a P2.5-million funding.

Raptor, first drone costs P150,000 while Knight Falcon costs P300,000. The Army is now developing a third drone that has more advanced features than those of the two drones combined.

“The Army came up with this unmanned aerial system to boost its capability. We can now come up with video footages without risking the life of an individual,” Bacus said.

“Because we were the ones who developed the drones, the expenses involved were less compared to those acquired from other sources,” he added.

Earlier, the Defense department bared plans to acquire drones and other surveillance equipment to boost the Marines' security and search and rescue capabilities.

The items form part of the Marine Forces Imagery and Targeting Support System Acquisition Project worth P684-million.

The project involves the acquisition of six sets of drones or small unmanned aerial vehicle sub-system, nine sets of target acquisition device sub-systems, 12 kits of tactical sensor integration sub-systems, and an integrated logistics support package.

The equipment will be used by the three Marine brigades in Sulu, Central Mindanao and Palawan. – Alexis Romero
 

ALEXIS ROMERO ANTHONY BACUS BACUS CAMP AGUINALDO CENTRAL MINDANAO AND PALAWAN DRONES KNIGHT FALCON MARINE FORCES IMAGERY AND TARGETING SUPPORT SYSTEM ACQUISITION PROJECT MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT NUR MISUARI
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