From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 1): AFP says there are no PGMs in its inventory, only pilots trained in precision air strikes
While lacking "precision guided munitions" (PGMs) in its inventory, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has enough pilots qualified in making precision and surgical strikes against Maute Group terrorists and other enemies of the country.
PGMs are defined as ordnance or bombs capable of identifying and striking its targets without human intervention or guidance.
AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla issued this clarification in wake of the "friendly fire incident" involving a SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 attack aircraft which on Wednesday led to the death of 11 soldiers and wounding of seven others.
"We are not using PGMs in the ongoing campaign in Marawi City, we don't have PGMs (in the inventory), what we are using since (May 23) are precision air strikes or precision close-air support which our pilots are trained for," he added.
Padilla also said the SF-260s, which are originally designed for training purposes, was modified for the ground attack role, a mission the aircraft is well suited for.
Other AFP ground attack assets being used in the Marawi City clearing operations are the Rockwell OV-10 bombers and the MG-520 and AW-109 attack helicopters.
As this develops, AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año said he has already ordered the AFP Inspector General, under Major Gen. Rafael Valencia, to investigate Wednesday's "friendly fire incident".
"It was very unfortunate and no one wanted it to happen. I am deeply saddened and the whole AFP commiserate with the bereaved families with deep regret. I want to assure the public that it will not happen again and I ensure that all measures and actions are being implemented in order to resolve the Marawi crisis at the soonest possible time without jeopardizing the lives of innocent civilians," he added.
And when asked on whether there are plans to ground the SF-260s pending the investigation, Año said the AFP "may defer the use of SF-260 for the meantime but it will continue using all other available ground air and naval assets in order to resolve this crisis quickly."
"We are doing our best to comply with the timeline but what is more important is to finish our job with the minimum loss of soldiers' and civilians' lives," the AFP chief added.