US drone fished out of Masbate waters


FALLEN DRONE A US-made unmanned aerial vehicle, identified as a BQM-74E target drone, was recovered in waters off San Jacinto town on Ticao Island, Masbate, early Sunday morning. PHOTO FROM MASBATE PROVINCIAL POLICE OFFICE

NAGA CITY—A 4-meter-long, US-made unmanned aerial vehicle—or “drone”—has been recovered by fishermen in the waters off San Jacinto town on Ticao Island in Masbate, the police chief in the island-province said on Monday.

The drone was seen drifting by fishermen Jolly Llacer and Ricky Cantoria, who fished it out on Sunday morning and brought it with them to San Jacinto without knowing what it was, Senior Supt. Heriberto Olitoquit said in a phone interview.

Olitoquit said the two fishermen turned it over to village officials and then to San Jacinto policemen, who initially reported to the provincial police office that the object was a “bomb.”

Police operatives who rushed to the area determined it was an American-made unmanned aerial vehicle, based on the markings found on the object, Olitoquit said.

Based on the markings, the drone had the following technical descriptions:

Aerial Target Drone

BQM-74E Chukar III

Part No.: 89500-517

Model: BQM 74E

Serial Number: BQ 55048

Contract No.: N00019-05-C0040

Cage No.: 77646

Acceptance Date: April 14, 2008

The drone has a wingspan of 1.76 meters and a height of .71 meters, Olitoquit said.

The word “Navy” is written on one side of the drone.

Drones are commonly used for military or nonmilitary surveillance and/or reconnaissance.

Not armed

In Manila, the US Embassy said the drone that landed off Masbate was neither armed nor used for intelligence gathering. The embassy has yet to say categorically if US forces deployed it.

US Embassy spokesperson Tina Malone said the embassy was still gathering details about the recovered drone, including whether American troops had launched it and where it was launched.

“We are aware of reports that an apparently US-made unmanned aerial vehicle was recovered in the waters off Masbate this weekend,” Malone told the Inquirer by text.

She said the drone was the kind typically used in military training.

“The recovered vehicle appears to be of the sort that is used as an air defense target in training exercises,” Malone said. “This type of vehicle is not armed and not used for surveillance. We are trying to confirm this interpretation and to determine how and when it may have landed in the sea.”

An aerial target drone is known to be manufactured by American aerospace and defense technology firm Northrop Grumman.

300 meters from shore

Olitoquit said the Masbate police immediately reported the recovery of the drone to the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City.

He said he was later informed by Camp Crame that the Office of the National Security Adviser had asked the Philippine Navy to retrieve the drone and bring it to Manila on Monday.

Navy personnel have been sent to San Jacinto to recover the drone.

Maj. Apollo Herrera, executive officer of the 9th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in Milagros town in Masbate, said the drone was recovered about 300 meters from the shore.

According to Herrera, the initial information from the PNP was that the object was an ammunition from a US gunship.

No threat

As of 3 p.m. Monday, both the PNP and the Army had no idea why a US drone was drifting in the waters off Masbate.

Olitoquit allayed fears of a national security threat, saying a drone could also be used by commercial and private entities for charting or map-making.

But he said it was up to the higher authorities to determine the implication of the recovery of the drone on national security.

Used in Iraq

Based on information on the Internet, the BQM-74 Chukar is a series of aerial target drones produced by Northrop and its users include the US Navy and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato).

It is said to be used primarily as a realistic aerial target, capable of simulating enemy threats for gunnery and missile training exercises.

Chukar is the name of an Asian species of partridge, which is said to be hunted for sport.

In the 1991 Gulf War, according to an Internet article, BQM-74Cs were used as decoys during the initial air attacks into Iraq.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Michael Coy

    I can’t believe all these comments of people that think the U.S. Military is spying on the Philippines. HAHAHA I can’t stop laughing.  Go play in traffic.

    • Palparan

      kaya di umaasenso ang Pilipinas dahil sa sobrang daming bobo sa bansang ito… Di nila maintindihan ang pagkaiba ng Target Drone at Spy/Recon Drone…kung tutuusin, mas maganda kung ang mga ugok na ito na lang ang gagawing target praktis ng mga Kano…

      • hanep

        Isa ka na sa mga bobo !!!

    • JK1000

      Idiot ! you think you can fool us.

      • Anita Tamayo

        Better go to China. Check the comments in the news article made by your comrade Renato Reyes. You are living in the 1970’s kid. Better collect yourselves, you have disintegrated. Make some more of your comments here and you’ll be shredded. Hahaha!

  • Flexiblechair

    What if the drone found has Chinese Markings and Chinese MIlitary Insignias?! sigurado kumukulo na mga dugo ninyo sa mga instik ngayon, galit na galit tayo sa konting pilantik ng kalingkingan ng China, tapos galit parin kayo sa pagtulong ng U.S. sa atin, hindi ba na malinaw ito na merong surveillance na nangyayari through U.S. merong kumikilos,merong gumagawa. IF YOU CAN’T STAND BEHIND OUR GOVERNMENT AND OUR TROOPS, WELL BY ALL MEANS STAND IN FRONT OF THEM!

  • iping2sison

    As part of PH AFP modernization, drones should also be one of the major items to be purchased. These very cost efficient and effective, less manpower (no pilots) and easy to maintain.

  • JK1000

    No matter how you try to twist the facts, it shows no respect for Philippine sovereignty. you guys think you can easily fool filipinos ? Kiss my carabao a$$, you hypocrites ! It shows that you just do whatever you wish as long as you can get away with it, bad ! Not this time.

    • Ken

      Well when you act like fools I suppose so. Do you know how ocean currents work? I would imagine so since you are an island nation. Then you’d know that the ocean has a way of depositing things many miles away. Heck, the US just had a boat dock from Japan wash up on its shores. Do you think the US ran around screaming “conspiracy!”? No, because we’re not idiots. 

    • Joe Kano

       Feeling stupid yet?

  • James barter

    i heard this story… that since arroyo in administration..there were already drones flying around our Aerial border….and now is the truth..there is……..tsk tsk where is the privacy??

    if drones operated by Philippine navy..its okay meaning we are upgrading….and we are preparing for china invasion 

  • ed0408

    The Phil. should buy drones that has the capability of firing air to ground missiles or air to air missiles. These are cheaper alternative and safer than piloted aircraft or ships to patrol Spratley and Scarborough Shoal. We can easily attack Chinese ships or reconnaissance/war planes. 

  • LabkoPinas

    We should not return the drone but instead study it and copy iit so that we can mass produce it to guard our borders especially the area China wants to usurp. We then arm them and blow those chinese vessels to smithereens without loss of Phillippine lives.

  • Joe Kano

    Obviously, the truth is that the drone was launched by little green men from mars who wanted to implicate the US and get the excitable usual suspects all cranked up because it’s so much fun to watch them jump around and make fools of themselves.

  • goldilock

    It is demonstrating how an anti-ship like it can sink ships. It runs out of fuel on the way back from  Spratly.

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