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March 12, 1972, the first successful test of a Philippine made missile system was made at Caballo island.

On March 12, 1972, the first ever Philippine made rocket named “Bongbong I” was successfully launched at Caballo island near Corrigedor in the Manila Bay and successfully retrieved from the South China Sea. The rocket was part of the Philippine Military experiment to produce its own ballistic missiles, under the leadership of then Initiated by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos. It was researched and developed by a group of Filipino and German engineers and scientists and the Philippine Navy under Project Santa Barbara.

The tests were conducted in Caballo Island at the mouth of Manila Bay. Later tests were conducted at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. It was “initiated during the time of the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. The project includes building rockets, one of the rockets, ‘Bongbong 1’ was named after the President’s son.”

On September 7, 1975, four rockets were launched 10 to 12 kilometers into the sea from military vehicle mounted launchers somewhere in the coast of northern Luzon and witnessed by the President himself and the first lady and 2 of their children. Marcos as quoted by the Philippine News Agency said during the launch:

“The defense of the Philippines cannot be left to our allies. We must assume that there will be contingencies where even the United States may not be able to come to our assistance.”

Project Santa Barbara was discontinued after the Marcos administration.


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