US Army experiments with long-endurance drones, balloons in Philippines

May 15, 2024

Defense News

A barely detectable speck appears near a beaming, late afternoon sun and then dodges behind a cloud. Soon that small speck, as it makes its slow descent, takes the form of a sleek, small unmanned aircraft.

The aircraft makes a quiet, delicate landing along the runway of a remote island airfield in the Philippines in the temporarily breezeless, scorching heat. The platform — a Kraus Hamdani Aerospace K1000 — had spent the majority of the day flying above the South China Sea and collecting data for the Extended Range Sensing and Effects Company, which is part of the U.S. Army’s 1st Multi-Domain Task Force.

Here in the Philippines, the 1st MDTF is using the Balikatan military exercise to experiment with its structure and identify the assets that will best serve joint and coalition forces in situations where adversaries can deny regional access. The bilateral drill between the American and Philippine armed forces took place April 11-May 9.

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