MANILA – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will formally accept its brand new ground-based air defense system (GBADS) and a C-295 medium transport aircraft this Tuesday.
In an advisory over the weekend, the PAF said the "joint acceptance, turn-over, and blessing ceremony" of these newly-acquired assets will take place around at Basa Air Base, Floridablanca, Pampanga, and will be witnessed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. as the guest of honor.
The GBADS seeks to enhance the military's air defense capabilities.
The notice of award for the GBADS acquisition project was released in 2019.
The GBADS consists of the SPYDER air defense missile system developed by the Israeli defense technology firm, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, with assistance from Israel Aerospace Industries.
SPYDER is short for Surface-to-Air Python and Derby mobile air-defense missiles.
Earlier reports said the first two batteries will be delivered by the last quarter of 2022 with the third battery being delivered in the first quarter of 2023.
Battery refers to the grouping of missile launchers.
A normal battery consists of three or more missile launchers.
Meanwhile, PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo, in a message to reporters, said the GBADS, which is under Horizon 2 of the AFP Modernization Program, will complement the Air Force’s Integrated Air Defense System (IADS), one of the core systems of the PAF.
The newly acquired GBADS or specifically called SPYDER Air Defense System (SPADS) is a mobile air and missile defense system designed to protect critical installations, land-based fixed assets, mobile platforms and friendly forces from aerial threats such as combat aircraft, attack helicopters, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), incoming missiles, guided munition, and rockets.
In certain cases, it may also be used to neutralize surveillance threats, she added.
"With a dependable GBADS, we can ensure that in situations when enemy aerial assets have infiltrated the national territory, a layer of defense is still available to directly protect vital assets on the ground for continuous defense operations," Castillo said.
The GBADS batteries arrived in late September this year.
Meanwhile, the C-295 aircraft to be accepted by the PAF is part of another order of three aircraft from Airbus Defense and Space.
The first aircraft arrived last March and were acquired under the PAF's medium-lift aircraft acquisition project under Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.
The contract for the three aircraft, which was signed in 2019, is worth PHP5.288 billion.
These planes will augment the four C-295 aircraft previously acquired by the PAF in 2015 and 2019. (PNA)