US to deploy rocket launchers on wheels in training with PH
THE UNITED States military will deploy its HIMARS mobile artillery platform in the live fire phase of the Balikatan exercises with Philippine troops next month.
This is the first time the “M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System” or HIMARS will be used in the joint military exercises.
Capt. Celeste Frank Sayson, Balikatan public affairs officer for the Philippine military, said they had yet to receive information on how many HIMARS would be brought over by the United States.
“We would like to make it clear that this is just like any other exercises, we just put up some good stuff, especially the mobility exercise and the HIMARS coming in as part of the live fire exercises,” Sayson said.
He stressed the Balikatan exercises in April had nothing to do with the tensions in the West Philippine Sea where China has been aggressive in its reclamation and construction activities.
Balikatan will begin on April 4 in various military installations throughout the country and end on April 15.
A total of 3,773 Filipino soldiers and 4,904 US troops will take part.
The military described the HIMARS as a US light multiple rocket launcher mounted on a standard Army medium tactical vehicle truck frame.
The 6-rocket weapons systems will be deployed during the live fire exercise in Crow Valley, Tarlac.
The HIMARS will demonstrate its capability to engage ground, air and sea targets and its maximum range of 300 km.
Sayson said another HIMARS would conduct “simulated firing” in the programmed maritime interdiction exercise off the coast of eastern Palawan.
Aussie, other troops
Maritime interdiction is defined as the military’s efforts to deal with pirates and other vessels not cleared to enter Philippine territorial waters.
The Australian Defense Force will also participate in the bilateral exercises, but will be limited mostly to the civil military operation aspect.
Sayson said the Australian troops would bring in one aircraft which will be used in humanitarian assistance and disaster response and civil military operations.
This year’s exercises will also have international observers consisting of troops from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India, Japan, South Korea and Timor Leste.
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