PH Air Force attributes increase of US aircraft presence to bilateral exercises | Global News

PH Air Force attributes increase of US aircraft presence to bilateral exercises

/ 01:49 PM July 11, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — The “increased presence” of the United States aircraft assets in the country is due to its ongoing bilateral exercises with the Philippines, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) said on Tuesday.

PAF spokesperson Col. Maria Consuelo Castillo made the clarification after Senator Imee Marcos questioned the arrival of more air assets in the country, saying the country should be equally vigilant in protecting the country’s skies from foreign entities the way it had been speaking out against Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea.


READ: Imee questions ‘covert’ US military flights in PH


“As far as the air force is concerned, the increased presence of the aircraft is due to their involvement in Cope Thunder exercises,” Castillo said in a press conference in Camp Aguinaldo.

Castillo also said that “there are more than ten types of aircraft” that are involved in Cope Thunder right now and are covered by diplomatic clearances.

“As long as they are covered by diplomatic clearances and communicated to us by the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs), there is no threat because it went through the proper process,” Castillo said. “All those involved in the training went through the proper process of getting the proper diplomatic clearance.”

Castillo is referring to the ongoing second iteration of the war games between PAF and their US counterparts dubbed as “Cope Thunder” that will last until July 21. Its first iteration was held last May.

Aside from Cope Thunder, there are also ongoing military exercises between the Philippine Marine Corps and their US counterparts.

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TAGS: Air Force, bilateral, PAF, Philippine Air Force

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