US F-16 jets in PH for air combat drills | Inquirer News
AIR-TO-AIR DRILLS

US F-16 jets in PH for air combat drills

/ 05:30 AM March 14, 2022
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft takes off for a nighttime mission at Bagram Airfield

A US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft takes off for a nighttime mission at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2017. The picture was taken Aug. 22, 2017. (REUTERS/Josh Smith/File Photo)

MANILA, Philippines — United States Air Force F-16 jets arrived over the weekend to conduct two weeks of air combat drills and exchanges with the Philippine Air Force (PAF) starting on Monday.

The PAF recently concluded its first-ever interoperability exercise with the Philippine Army.

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According to PAF spokesperson Col. Maynard Mariano, the F-16 jets of the US Air Force’s 13th Fighter Squadron, or Panthers, touched down on Saturday at Basa Air Base in Pampanga.

The Panthers will take part in this year’s S (BACE) with the PAF Bulldogs of the 7th Fighter Squadron and the Blackjacks of the 105th Fighter Training Squadron from March 14 to March 25.

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“For 12 days, these units will be involved in one of the most rigorous air exercises being conducted between the two countries,” Mariano said.

Intensive training

This year’s BACE would involve drills and exchanges on air-to-air engagement, surface strike and air-to-ground engagement, command and control or air weapons control.

“Airspaces of the exercises will be at the intensive military training areas 1 and 2 and the Crow Valley [Tarlac] airspace,” the PAF spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the PAF concluded its first interoperability exercise with the Philippine Army on Friday at the 2nd Infantry Jungle Fighter Division headquarters in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal province.

Some 1,000 Army and Air Force personnel took part in the joint training, which started on March 7 and included military free fall, bundle drop, helicopter sniping, fast rope insertion extraction system, air evacuation training, and communications and electronics exercises.

The PAF-Army interoperability exercise aims to “address gaps in joint operations and achieve seamless air-to-ground communications and operations between the two Armed Forces of the Philippines major services,” Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad pointed out.

The joint exercise, he further said, also tested the new communications system installed in PAF planes enabling ground troops to “securely and effectively communicate with pilots and crew.”

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The interoperability exercise, likewise, was aimed at capacitating the PAF and Army in increasing the survivability of combat-wounded troopers.

The exercise involved both physical exercises and virtual subject matter expert exchanges.

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TAGS: Philippine Air Force, US Air Force F-16 jets, US-PH air combat drills
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