Friday, April 5, 2013

2013 PH-US Balikatan Opens Tomorrow;12 Fighter Jets to Participate

From the Website of AFP

2013 PH-US Balikatan Opens Tomorrow;12 Fighter Jets to Participate

Published on Thursday, 04 April 2013 13:58
Written by PAO, AFP
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CAMP GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The 29th Philippines-United States Balikatan Exercise will formally open tomorrow, April 5 at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Commissioned Officers Club with top government and military officials from both countries attending as guests of honor and speakers.

Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, AFP Chief of Staff General Emmanuel T. Bautista, AFP Command and General Staff College Commandant Maj. Gen. Virgillo O. Domingo, and U.S. Deputy Exercise Director Brig. Gen. Richard M. Simcock II are expected to attend tomorrow’s activity.

Squadron of U.S. Fighter Jets to Participate in BK13

Meanwhile, a squadron of fighter jets from the United States Military will arrive in the country on the following days to participate in the annual military exercise. The twelve F/A-18 Hornets will land at Clark Air Base, Pampanga and will take part in the joint military exercises.

The ‘Hornets’ are twin-engine supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable fighter jets, designed to attack ground targets. The F/A-18 has been used by the U.S. Navy as demonstration aircraft since 1986.

The U.S. Military earlier announced that it will deploy 20 air assets to support the more than 8,000 Filipino and American soldiers in their joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR)-focused military training in Central Luzon. These air assets will also provide air logistics support and services to both U.S. and Philippine militaries’ service members supporting BK13. Currently, 14 of the aircraft have already arrived in Clark Air Base, Pampanga last Monday while the others are expected to arrive within the week.
From the AFP’s side, 9 aircraft from the Philippine Air Force will be deployed to assist Filipino and American troops in the ongoing BK13 Activities while the Philippine Navy will deploy one of its Islanders and two vessels.

On the other hand, the U.S. Navy ship taking part in the annual military exercise has already docked in Manila bay last Tuesday to offload military personnel and equipment for BK13.

This year’s Balikatan is the 4th HA/DR–focused Bilateral Exercise; the 1st in 2008, the 2nd in 2010, and the 3rd last year. The annual military exercise is a combined joint military exercise based on the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty which is conducted every year to serve as a venue for joint and combined training between the Philippine and U.S. militaries.

BK13 seeks to address previous disaster situations that occurred recently in the Philippines with the objectives of supporting the Government with the development of regional disaster management and emergency response mechanisms. It is also aimed at testing and validating the PH-US Military HA/DR Concept of Operations in a multinational and multi-organizational exercise.

Invited to join are security officials from Australia, Brunei, Japan, Republic of Korea, and Thailand who will unite with high ranking officers from the AFP and U.S. Military in the Multinational Maritime Security Roundtable Discussion in Camp Aguinaldo.

Currently, 200 personnel from the AFP and U.S. Military are conducting Engineering Civic Action Program (ENCAP) projects which will benefit eight communities from all over Zambales Province. Aside from engineering projects, members of the AFP and U.S. Military have also started their Medical, Dental, and Veterinarian Civic Action Programs in said province mid-March.

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