A total of 92 military aircraft from the United States, Philippines and Australia will be taking part in this year’s Balikatan exercises scheduled on April 20- 30, 2015.
Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said that the Americans will be deploying 76 military aircraft while the Philippines will be allocating 15 planes and helicopters while the Australian Defense Forces will deploy one.
Earlier, the AFP said that 11,740 troops from the three countries will be participating in this year’s Balikatan exercises.
This can be broken down into 6,656 personnel for the US, 5,023 for the AFP and 61 for the Australian Defense Forces.
He added that the US will be deploying three naval vessels while the AFP will be sending one.
Balikatan is an annual combined joint exercise between the governments of the Philippines and US.
This is conducted every year to serve as a venue for joint and combined training between the Philippines and United States militaries.
“Our Armed Forces and the US Armed Forces are coming together for this mutual defense and disaster response exercises towards a more responsive partnership to the community focusing on development and community service,” Cabunoc said.
This year’s Balikatan is the 31st in the series of bilateral exercises based on the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.
The exercise is designed to enhance the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States Armed Forces in capability development in the conduct of not only traditional military training but with civil military projects focusing on reaching out towards priority communities.
Balikatan 2015 will be conducted in three simultaneous events.
Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA) events is the conduct of combined and joint civil-military operations by the AFP, US and Australian Defense Forces (ADF) in selected areas of the Western Command (WESCOM) area of responsibility in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan and Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility in Panay Island, to enhance civil-military cooperation in support of the AFP and US objectives.
In the Command Post Exercise (CPX) event, the scenario will focus on Marine Security (MARSEC) with Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) to demonstrate the capability of the AFP National Maneuver Force.
Selected US and ADF staff members will form a Joint Liaison Group (JLG) to support the capability development at each staff.
While the Field Training Exercises (FTX) events will have the following involved unit; the Philippine Army (PA), Philippine Air Force (PAF), Philippine Navy (PN), Philippine Marine Corps (PMC), AFP Special Operations Force (SOF), United States Army (USAR), United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Crops (USMC), and United States SOF (US SOF) will be held in Crow Valley Gunnery Range (CVGR), Tarlac; Basa Air Base (BAB), Floridablanca and Clark Air Base (CAB) Angeles City, both in Pampanga; Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija (FMNE); Marine Base Gregorio Lim (MBGL), Ternate, Cavite; Naval Base Heracleo Alano (NBHA), Sangley Point, Cavite and at Naval Station Leovigildo Gantiouqui (NSLG), San Antonio, Zambales to enhance capacities and improve tactics, techniques and procedures, reinforce relations, and improve interoperability of AFP, US and ADF forces.
Opening ceremony of Balikatan 2015 will be held at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City on April 20 while the closing ceremony will be at Clark Airbase on April 30.
Balikatan Exercise Director for this year is Vice Adm. Aexander S. Lopez while Brig. Gen. Rodolfo B Santiago is the Exercise’s Vice Director and also the commandant of AFP Command and General Staff College.