ZAMBALES, Philippines- The Amphibious Assault is one of the highlights in the bilateral exercises between the Philippines and the U.S. in Zambales; the exercise is being done approximately 250 kilometers away from the disputed Panatag or Scarborough Shoal.
The northern beach in the Philippine Naval Base in Luzon spreads at a length of 2 kilometers, making it the perfect place to conduct the Amphibious Landing Exercise of the Balikatan; according to U.S. Exercise Deputy Director BGEN Christopher Mahoney.
"The complexity of this exercise is born out of the beauty of this training range. It’s practical to use this training range in order to get all our objectives" He added
The exercises this year focuses on territorial defense scenario; wherein the joint US and Philippine task forces aim to take back the islands seized by the enemies.
When asked why the field training exercise is being conducted in Zambales near the West Philippine Sea, Marine Battalion Landing Team 7 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Doroteo Jose Jalandoni said it does not aim to escalate the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China.
"We don't do exercises in areas that have places of contention. This is an exercise and exercise is testing the capability of both forces" said Col. Jalandoni.
The beach landing exercises aim to improve the inter-operability of military assets and personnel of the AFP and the US Armed Forces, both at sea and on land.
Inter-operability refers to the alliance of two different forces to effectively accomplish a certain mission.
350 Filipino soldiers and 400 American soldiers participated in the “Boat Raid” training.
21 Amphibious Assault Vehicles plus a UH-1 Cobra, a UH-1 Huey and AV-8 Harriers were used as closed-air support in the amphibious assault exercise.
Though the country is lacking in modern equipment, Col. Jalandoni believes that training with the US Armed Forces will help strengthen the capability of the Philippine Armed Forces.
"This exercise is a good measure of looking at it that when it arrives, we are prepared already. He said
The Philippine Navy is set to acquire 2 brand new Strategic Sea lift Vessels (SSV) and 8 Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV); making this amphibious assault exercise a perfect training for the future operators of the incoming assets.
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