US, PH begin striking ‘Made in China’ mock target ship near Taiwan

US, PH begin striking ‘Made in China’ mock target ship near Taiwan

/ 08:24 AM May 08, 2024

BRP Lake Caliraya sailing west of Candon City, Ilocos Sur on Tuesday morning. (Photo from the Armed Forces of the Philippines)

BRP Lake Caliraya sailing west of Candon City, Ilocos Sur. (Photo from the Armed Forces of the Philippines)

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — Missiles struck the “Made in China” ship that served as a mock target during the highlight event of Manila and Washington’s bilateral drills within the vicinity waters of this province near Taiwan.

The mock target, former BRP Lake Caliraya, was located about 15 kilometers off the coastal city of Laoag, which is only over 400 kilometers away from the southernmost point of the self-ruled island China sees as a renegade province subject to reunification.


‘We want to strike it all day’


“For maximum training value, we want to strike the target vessel all day, not to sink it,” said Col. Francel Margareth Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson, during a press conference on Tuesday.

Select media, about a dozen foreign military observers, and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officials monitoring the exercise could only watch the strikes through a television screen in an encampment here since the strikes were not visible on the shores due to its distance from the coast.

At about 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, the naval fast attack interdiction craft armed with Spike missiles started to hit BRP Lake Caliraya, as evinced by the faint smoke shown on the screen, to mark the beginning of the maritime strike which lasted for over two hours.

READ: PH, US war games simulate foiling of invasion attempt near Taiwan

BRP Jose Rizal’s SSM-700K C-Star anti-ship missiles soon followed course, causing the first major blow to the mock target causing a thick smoke billowing from it.


Philippine Air Force’s FA-50 fighter jets then dropped an air-to-ground missile against the battered ship, causing it to tilt on its stern to begin the sinking process. The United States F-16 and AC-130 also conducted airstrikes against the mock target.

Afterward, the Philippine Army’s ATMOS 155 mm howitzers also directly fired against BRP Lake Caliraya, which eventually gave in and became fully submerged at about 10:49 a.m.

The howitzer’s live fire drills, which emitted loud booms, caused a stir in the audience during the tedium.


The former BRP Lake Caliraya, the Navy’s first and only motor tanker made in China, was decommissioned in 2020.

READ: ‘Made in China’ ship as mock target in Balikatan unintentional—PH Navy

The “coincidence” with regards to the ship’s origin drew ire from Chinese media.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Chinese state-backed tabloid Global Times, in an editorial piece dated April 20, said the move to use the Chinese-made oil tanker as a target of both countries’ anti-ship missiles and bombs shows “clear provocative intent.”

“It’s purely coincidental and it’s really not directed towards the source of such a vessel,” Padilla said of the objections to the mock “enemy” ship’s origin.

TAGS: bilateral drills, Made in China, US

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.