The Philippine Navy took delivery of a ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) from the United States. According to a statement by the U.S. Embassy, the UAS will provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to the 71st Maritime Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance Squadron (71 MUARS) of the Philippine Fleet’s Naval Air Wing. 71 MUARS is the Philippine military's leading unit for unmanned maritime ISR operations.
According to Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Erick Kagaoan, "This new asset will complement the same kind being operated by the 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing at the Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, which is very close to the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea that need our consistent attention."
According to the U.S. Embassy in Manila, "the Philippines is by far the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region. Since 2015, the United States has delivered more than Php33 billion ($650 million) worth of planes, ships, armored vehicles, small arms, and other military equipment to the Philippines, while training side-by-side with our Filipino allies."
Navalnews.com claimed that the UAVs were donated by the United States under the Maritime Security Initiative program. For the record, Boeing subsidiary Insitu was awarded a $48 million contract for 34 ScanEagle systems for Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. Six were delivered to Malaysia in May this year.