New radar system to boost Navy's ability to detect intrusions

By Priam Nepomuceno

August 21, 2017, 11:26 am

MANILA -- The Philippine Navy's (PN) capability to detect unauthorized entries in the country's vast maritime domains will be greatly boosted by the American-donated tethered aerostat radar system (TARS) that will be turned over on August 22.

Navy spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna said TARS is the PN's first self-sustained unmanned lighter-than-air system and will enhance their capability in maritime intelligence surveillance reconnaissance.

TARS will allow the PN to detect maritime and air traffic within the country’s coastal waters using sensors, he added.

Aside from protecting the country's waters from intruders, TARS can also be utilized in the conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

Lincuna said TARS is also equipped with a weather station that provides telemetry data to the ground station for the monitoring of ambient temperature, pressure, wind speed and other pertinent parameters in the operation of the system.

The equipment will be formally turned over by the US government to the PN during short ceremonies at the Naval Education and Training Command, San Antonio, Zambales on Tuesday.

The activity will be spearheaded by US Deputy Embassy Chief of Mission to the Philippines, Michael Klescheski and PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Joseph Ronald S. Mercado.

Earlier, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced that he is keen to get more modern radar systems to improve the country's maritime domain situational awareness capability.

Such capability is sorely needed on the Sulu and Celebes Sea, which is being threatened by piracy and kidnapping attacks Abu Sayyaf and other lawless elements and the eastern seaboard of the Philippines where incidents of poaching and intrusions are rampant.

Lorenzana said he is planning to include the acquisition of modern radars in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program's Second Horizon.

Maritime domain situational awareness refers to the capability to detect, monitor and if necessary, drive away intruding water craft from one's territorial waters.

The AFP Modernization Program is divided into three horizons, with the first lasting from 2013 to 2017, the second from 2018 to 2022 and third 2023 to 2028. (PNA)