The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has been briefed on the operations and other specifications of the American-made MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system. In a statement over the weekend, PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said it was made possible during the air and missile defense subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) conducted by the 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade of the United States Army at Naval Education, Training and Doctrine Command in San Antonio, Zambales on April 19. The Patriot is one of the premier missile systems of the United States and is classified as high to medium air defense system.
The subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) is part of the ongoing “Balikatan” exercises which started April 11 and will end on the 28th. PAF participants are from the 960th Air and Missile Defense Group (AMDG), the operator of the newly activated ground-based air defense system (GBADS) consisting of SPYDER medium-range missiles from Israel. The first two GBADS batteries were commissioned and activated by the PAF on Nov. 8 last year. GBADS, also known as the SPYDER Philippines Air Defense System, 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, incoming missiles, guided munition, and rockets.
During the learning session, subject matter experts from the 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade discussed the operations, role, various specifications, capabilities, and key parts of the Patriot missile defense system involving the radar set, engagement control station, missile launchers, and the Patriot missile. The aforementioned exercise broadened the understanding of the Air and Missile System Operators of 960th AMDG on air and missile defense operations. Likewise, it strengthened ties and comradery between the PAF and its US counterparts,” Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said.
The Philippines and Singapore are the only two countries in the Southeast Asian region operating the advanced missile system. Castillo also said the GBADS is an acquisition project under Horizon 2 of the AFP Modernization Program. The first two GBAD batteries were delivered on Sept. 24 and 29, 2022, while the third battery is expected on May 24, 2024. A typical PAF GBADS battery consists of a command-and-control unit, three main firing units equipped with four missile launchers, along with two support vehicles for field service and munition resupply. The GBADS contract is worth PHP6,846,750,000 and includes integrated logistics support, a simulator, a missile repair facility, and air defense systems missile training for personnel.