The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday said the “smart munitions” given to them by the United States would be of great help to their ongoing efforts to eliminate the terrorist menace in the country. While the AFP has been successful in using ordinary munitions in counter-terrorism operations using legacy aircraft, including in Marawi City, Arevalo said the arrival of these modern weapons will greatly boost efforts to defeat the threat of terrorism.
“These smart munitions with such capability and precision will aid immensely the AFP in ridding the country of terrorist menaces. We may have been successful in counter-terrorism operations—most notably in Marawi —with ordinary munitions fitted in our legacy aircraft. But with the advent of these missiles and munitions, we are certain that they will greatly boost our campaigns and contribute to the global drive to fight and defeat terrorists” AFP spokesperson Marine Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.
In a ceremony, the Department of Foreign Affairs received from US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien a precision-guided munition package to the Philippines worth US$18 million (around PHP868 million). Some of the weapons handed over include 100 “tube-launched optically tracked, wire-guided” TOW-2A missiles, 12 improved target acquisition systems (ITAS), and 24 Mark-82 bombs and associated guidance kits to convert these into smart bombs.
The BGM-71 TOW (“Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided”) is an American anti-tank missile. TOW replaced much smaller missiles like the SS.10 and ENTAC, offering roughly twice the effective range, a more powerful warhead, and a greatly improved semi-automatic guidance system that could also be equipped with infrared cameras for night time use. The Mark 82 (Mk 82) is an unguided, low-drag general-purpose bomb, part of the United States Mark 80 series. The explosive filling is usually tritonal, though other compositions have sometimes been used.