In particular, with the outbreak of the five-month long siege on the southern city of Marawi past year, US surveillance support to the Philippines was stepped up, leading to various forms of assistance including drones, such as the Aerovironment RQ-11 Raven hand-launched UAVs given for the use of the Marine Special Operations Group, the deployment of the Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and, beyond drones, new Cessna 208B "Caravan" ISR aircraft. -Philippine alliance despite the challenges posed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Lorenzana thanked the USA government for its continuous assistance to the Philippines particularly in acquiring weapons and defense equipment as well as service and military training.
Nevertheless, the USA military provided technical support and surveillance vital in helping the Philippines end a five-month occupation of Marawi City by pro-Islamic State rebels a year ago. This was billed as a significant move since it would be the first new drones that Manila would acquire.
The six Boeing Insitu ScanEagle drones, which have two cameras and can operate for up to 24 hours on a single run, were financed through a $13.7-million grant from Washington's foreign military assistance program, Reuters reported.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and U.S. ambassador Sung Kim were present at the turnover ceremony held at the PAF headquarters in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.