The US-donated “Special Airborne Mission Installation and Response System” (SABIR) will be used by the country in patrolling its vast maritime territories.
This was bared by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana during the ceremonial acceptance, blessing and turned over of the above-mentioned equipment at the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing Fixed Hangar, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City Tuesday.
“(SABIR will be used) for patrolling the West Philippine Sea, Philippine Rise and the Sulu Sea,” he added.
The DND chief said that this equipment will help address the country’s surveillance gap and aid in the surveying of areas devastated by weather disturbances.
“Also, we can use this for surveying devastated areas by typhoons, before and after, so that we can assess the damages,” he added.
Lorenzana, however, clarified that the equipment will not be used everyday as other assets with ISR (intelligence, surveillance and recon) capabilities like the ScanEagles, Cessna 208Bs and TC-90s are also available.
“I don’t know if we will get some more but I think we only use this once in a while, maybe it’s not everyday we’ll use this because we have other assets like the (ScanEagle) drone, we have the (Cessna 208B) Caravan also and then we have the TC-90s of the Navy,” he added.
SABIR is a “bolt-on, bolt-off” avionics module for the Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” cargo plane which served as the Philippine Air Force’s main intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system.
Installation of the above-mentioned equipment will upgrade the aircraft with advanced command-and-control, communications, computer, and surveillance capabilities without sacrificing the C-130’s primary function as a cargo plane.
Its equipment, training and transfer cost is worth PHP807 million.
The SABIR donation is part of the US Southeast Asia Maritime Security initiatives and granted to the PAF to beef up its maritime domain awareness, airborne command-and-control, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities.
SABIR will be operated by the PAF’s 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing. PNA