US, PH air force drills become source of future ship exercises

US, PH air force drills become source of future ship sinking exercises

/ 02:03 PM April 09, 2024

US, PH air force drills become source of future ship sinking exercises

TRAINING WITH ALLIES The Philippine Navy’s BRP Antonio Luna leads three other participating ships during the first Multilateral Maritime Cooperative Activity between the Philippines, the United States, Australia and Japan, in the West Philippine Sea over the weekend. —ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) and its United States counterparts will lay the foundation for future airmen-led ship sinking drills.

PAF spokesperson Col. Maria Consuelo Castillo on Tuesday said the PAF and the US Air Force will conduct subject matter exchanges about future maritime strikes and anti-ship tactics under this year’s Cope Thunder exercise.


“Perhaps, what’s new here [in this year’s Cope Thunder] is the subject matter exchange about maritime strike and anti-ship tactics,” Castillo told reporters in a phone interview, partly in Filipino.


“Should there be actual practice, it could be used for future exercises,” Castillo also said.

However, Castillo noted that there are no sinking exercises slated for this year’s Cope Thunder.

Asked if PAF has plans for maritime strike, Castillo said: “I can’t say yet, the specifics of other exercises outside Cope Thunder, but definitely we have subject matter exchanges, it is more on lectures, so it’s a prelude to whatever actual exercises we will be conducting.”

Manila and Washington will sink a mock enemy ship off the coast of Laoag in Ilocos Norte, the northernmost mainland province in the country relatively near Taiwan, as part of Balikatan exercises.

READ: Philippines, US plan mock enemy ship sinking near Taiwan

This is the second time the maritime sinking drills were conducted during Balikatan.


Last year, a decommissioned Navy corvette called BRP Pangasinan sank off San Antonio town in Zambales or 235 kilometers away from Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

The first sinking drills were successful, but the intruding local aircraft had caused a delay.

Such activities have been conducted in view of the West Philippine Sea dispute and the mounting tensions over Taiwan.

Beijing asserts sovereignty in the entire South China Sea, including most of the West Philippine Sea, even if such a claim has been effectively invalidated by a July 2016 international tribunal ruling that stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013.

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China also regards Taiwan as a renegade province subject to reunification after its breakaway from the mainland in 1949 following Mao Zedong’s communist forces’ takeover of the mainland.

TAGS: Air Force, drills, Philippines, United States

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