A “target drone” of the U.S. Navy was found in waters off Ticao Island in Masbate on Sunday, police said.
Fishermen Jolly Llacer and Ricky Cantoria found the drone near Sitio Tacdugan of San Jacinto town and reported it to police past 9 a.m., Senior Supt. Heriberto Olitoquit, Masbate Provincial Police director, said.
“Unang inakala ng mga mangingisda, bomba, pero vinerify ng EOD, di naman bomba… US property na drone,” Olitoquit said in a phone interview.The US-made unmanned aerial vehicle, which had the markings BQM-74E Chukar III, is 12’11” or 3.94 meters long, has a wingspan of about 1.76 meters, Olitoquit said in text message.
The drone was first brought to the San Jacinto Police Station before it was turned over to the Philippine Navy.
The BQM-74E Chukar III is the latest of a series of aerial target drones produced by American aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman.
The remote-controlled drone, launched from warships, can fly as fast as Mach 0.86 and altitudes from 10,000 meters to 12,000 meters.
It was not immediately known where the drone found off Masbate came from, but several US ships that have made port calls in nearby areas are known to use such UAVs for targets. (John Roson)
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