MANILA — The Philippine Navy’s (PN) maritime domain awareness capability got a much-needed boost as it formally accepted a US-donated tethered aerostat radar system (TARS) Tuesday.
Capt. Lued Lincuna, Navy spokesperson, said the 28-meter TARS was handed over by US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission to the Philippines, Michael Klescheski, to PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph S. Mercado.
Turnover ceremonies took place at the Naval Education Training Command (NETC), Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui, San Antonio, Zambales.
TARS is a large fabric envelope filled with helium, and can rise up to an altitude of 5,000 feet while tethered by a single cable.
Specifically, the 28-meter class TARS is a self-sustained, rapidly deployable, unmanned lighter-than-air platform to be utilized by the PN to bolster its maritime domain awareness.
The NETC in Zambales was chosen to be the staging point since, as the largest real-estate property of the PN with flat terrain, it fits the minimum space of 300 ft x 300 ft open area requirement for the launching of the aerostat.
Also, as the premiere training institution of the PN, personnel here can be trained using this system as one of the new competencies.
Lincuna said TARS will enhanced the PN’s capability to detect intrusion in the country’s territorial waters via its sensors and help in the conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.
It also includes a weather station that provides telemetry data to the ground station for the monitoring of ambient temperature, pressure, wind speed and other pertinent parameters in the operation of the system.
Lincuna said the donation is part of the US Maritime Security Initiative (MSI) Program (2016-2020), a capacity-building assistance for Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines that aims to improve the ability of these countries to address a range of maritime challenges.