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Philippine Fleet tests missile, drones in West PH Sea October 27,2023 - 06:00 AM

Philippine fleet

The Philippine Fleet puts its drone and missile systems in check at the West Philippine Sea.

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine fleet tested its drone and missile systems in the West Philippine Sea in a bid to bolster its deterrence capability against external attacks.

Lieutenant Giovanni Badidles of the Philippine Fleet Public Affairs Office said the sea phase of the Philippine Fleet’s 2023 Exercise Pagbubuklod was conducted off the waters of Capones Island in Zambales, which is only a few hundred kilometers away from Scarborough Shoal.

Despite being inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, the sandbank was seized by China after a standoff with Manila in 2012. However, a ruling from an international tribunal in 2016 stated that the area was a traditional fishing site for several countries, including the Philippines.

READ: Explainer: What is the risk of conflict at the disputed Scarborough Shoal?

“The Philippine fleet will continue to improve in terms of training and ensure the reliability of our newly-acquired equipment and their effectiveness,” he said in a phone interview with

In another statement, Badidles said the drills will enable the Philippine fleet to address “traditional and non-traditional challenges.”

On the second day of the drill’s sea phase in Zambales island on Thursday, Badidles said that the Philippine fleet’s three multi-purpose attack crafts (MPAC) used their Spike-ER missile system in a live firing exercise.

Acquired from Israel in 2018, the surface-to-air missiles onboard the three MPACs have a range of eight kilometers.

READ: PH Navy successfully test fires first missile system

Badidles said the fleet also tested on Wednesday the capability of the Naval Air Wing’s unmanned aerial vehicle system, commonly known as a drone.

The drone, deployed under the fleet’s Maritime Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance Squadron Flight Bravo, is part of the anti-submarine capability, according to the lieutenant.

READ: PH Navy gets ‘eye in the sky’ from US: 8 drones worth P710M

Meanwhile, also converged during the exercise were the recently-acquired Philippine fleet assets such as frigates BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna; landing dock BRP Tarlac; fast attack interdiction crafts BRP Lolinato To-ong and BRP Gener Tinangag; patrol vessels BRP Valentin Diaz and BRP Ladislao Diwa.

To further improve interoperability, the Philippine fleet also tested its communications compatibility with the Philippine Fleet headquarters via marine radio, ship-to-air, and ship-to-ground communications.

The preliminary activities of 2023 Exercise Pagbubuklod also include a tabletop exercise aboard BRP Tarlac, and subject matter expert exchanges among operations officers, planners, headquarters staff, and other participants.

The annual multilateral drills began on Monday, Oct. 23, and will last until Oct. 27.


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TAGS: drones, missiles, Philippine Fleet, West philippine Sea, WPS

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