US to transfer observation blimp to the Philippines

5:15:00 AM
MANILA, -- The United States will give the Philippines an observation blimp to help track maritime activity and guard its borders amid rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

U.S, ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, said that Washington would give $42 million worth of sensors, radar, and communications equipment to the Philippines

“We will add to its capability to put sensors on ships and put an aerostat blimp in the air to see into the maritime space,” Goldberg said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

The blimp, a balloon-borne radar will be collecting information and will be used to detect movements in the West Philippine Sea, a Philippine military official said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea which is believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas. Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei also have overlapping claims.

Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited the Philippines to bolster Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to defend the Philippines.

According to Goldberg, the two allies both agreed to set up a system for “secure and classified communications” as part of a five-year, $425 million security initiative by the United States in Southeast Asia.

This year, the Philippines will receive about $120 million in military aid, the largest sum since 2000 when the US Army returned to the Philippines for training and exercises.

An aerostat is seen from its mobile mooring station as it is deployed at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

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