Military conducts war exercise near China-occupied Scarborough Shoal

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With new assets in the inventory of the Navy and the Air Force, the military carried out its amphibious landing and island defense exercises in Zambales where the Scarborough Shoal sits at a shooting distance.

The drills were carried out on Wednesday in the waters of San Antonio, Zambales where Scarborough Shoal, which China exercises a de facto control lies more than just 200 kilometers away.

The amphibious landing and island defense, participated by land and sea-borne forces and assets, were undertaken under the continuing AJEX DAGIT-PA war games of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), its first major exercise following its continuous acquisition of assets and equipment.

The drills followed a major activity on Tuesday dubbed as joint-interoperability exercises (JIOE) where combined air-to-sea operations by helicopters, ships and other assets of the Navy were practiced, including activities akin to reprovisioning, which is an irregular occurrence in the West Philippine Sea as Chinese forces often harass Philippine resupplies to its forces in the area.

Under the continuing exercises, soldiers have practiced target acquisition for HERMES 450 from Basa Air Base in Pampanga to San Antonio, Zambales, displaying for the first time the tactical capability of the Israeli-acquired unmanned aerial vehicle.

Soldiers also undertook simulated naval surface fire support; helideck operations; joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; recovery of AW109 aircraft; over the beach operations; hydro reconnaissance; underwater mine clearing; obstacle breaching; simulated air strike; amphibious assault vehicle launch; ship to objective maneuvers and ship to shore maneuver.

The drills were undertaken under Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo as AJEX DAGIT-PA exercise director.

The war games, the 4th iteration of such exercises but are being held for the first time under a more equipped military, focuses on the AFP’s capability development in maritime security and amphibious operations.

Image credits: Naval Forces Northern Luzon


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