Philippine Air Force gearing up for Australia air drills

Philippine Air Force gearing up for Australia air drills

/ 11:21 AM July 08, 2024

   

The next leg of the drills between the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and its counterparts in the United States will focus on large-force deployment of airmen.

A Philippine Air Force FA-50 and US Air Force B-52H bomber aircraft fly over the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone on Feb 19, 2024 (Monday), 90 nautical miles west of Candon, Ilocos Sur; and 50 nautical miles northwest of Lubang, Mindoro. (FILE PHOTO / PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE)

 

 

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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) began sending its assets for the multilateral air drills in Australia this week.

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PAF Spokesperson Col. Maria Consuelo Castillo said their C-130 and C-295 cargo planes arrived in Darwin City on Sunday.

 Castillo said the aircraft carries essential equipment for the “Pitch Back” drills.

Six FA-50s — half of the fighter jets under the PAF’s arsenal — are also expected to arrive in the following days, the deployment of which was deemed by Castillo as a “monumental event” as this marks the first time the PAF deployed its fighter jets in the said drills. 

According to Castillo, the three-week exercise, which will begin on July 12 and culminate on August 2, will include a wide range of tactical flying and large-scale operational collective training activities.

“Our involvement in this exercise is crucial to advancing our readiness, interoperability, and professionalism as an air force,” Castillo said in a statement on Sunday.

The Philippines and Australia have an existing visiting forces agreement, which is a comprehensive legal framework for the presence of one country’s armed forces in the other. 

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 Australia also regularly conducts drills with the Philippines and is a regular observer of the Balikatan exercise, the biggest annual war games conducted in the country.

To date, the PAF currently uses a dozen of the South Korean-built light combat aircraft after retiring its remaining fighters in 2005.

They were acquired from Korea Aerospace Industries for P18.9 billion during the administration of Benigno  Aquino Jr.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. also green-lighted plans to purchase multirole fighter aircraft, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-Staff General Romeo Brawner Jr. 

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