SABIR: The US has given the Philippines a $15-million surveillance and reconnaissance system to help in the fight against terrorism.
Sung Kim, US Ambassador to the Philippines, turned over the Special Airborne Mission Installation and Response (SABIR) system to Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City yesterday (Tuesday, August 14).
“We have great respect for the Armed Forces of the Philippines so we want to do our part as friends, partners and allies,” he said.
Secretary Lorenzana welcomed the gift, saying: “We can use this for surveying areas devastated by typhoons, before and after, so that we can assess the damage.”
The US embassy described the SABIR system as “a bolt-on avionics module for the C-130 Hercules aircraft.” It said the system “upgrades the aircraft with advanced command and control, communications, computer, and surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities without sacrificing the aircraft’s primary function as a cargo plane.”
The US provided the system to the Philippine Air Force through the Maritime Security Initiative funding, which is described as “a US initiative to build the maritime capacity of Southeast Asian nations”.
This is only the latest US show of support for the Philippine military. Earlier this month, Lorenzana announced that the US is transferring 4 OV-10B planes to the Philippines to help in counterterrorism.
The same type of plane was used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in dropping 250-lb and 500-lb bombs in Marawi City during the five-month battle with Islamic extremists last year.