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Pres. Marcos attends ‘Balikatan’ exercises in Zambales

ZAMBALES — President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday (April 26) watched the live-fire sea drills of the Philippines and the United States to culminate the field training event for this year’s “Balikatan” exercises.

Marcos witnessed the US and Philippine combat units participate in a combined joint littoral live-fire exercise involving the sinking of an old Philippines Navy ship some 2.8 kilometers from the Naval Education Training Doctrine Command (NETDC) in San Antonio, Zambales.

According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), Marcos expressed hope the country could benefit from enhanced cooperation with the United States through these joint military drills.

The PCO also noted that both Filipino and American military officials believe that the training event represented a tangible demonstration of the US-Philippine commitment to strengthen military capabilities and interoperability to meet shared modern-day security challenges.

Balikatan is the largest annual exercise between the Philippines and the US and 2023 marks its 38th iteration and the largest iteration to date with around 17,600 participants.

Balikatan 2023 aims to develop interoperability and enhance bilateral capabilities in the areas of maritime security, amphibious operations, live-fire training, urban and aviation operations, cyber defense, counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness.

The bilateral weapons systems used in the war games consisted of US and Philippine artillery, High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and the Avenger air defense systems.

State-of-the-art combat aircraft were also mobilized including AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, Philippine Air Force FA-50 Golden Eagle fighter-attack aircraft, F-16 Fighting Falcons, US Marine F-35B Joint Strike Fighters and the US Air Force Special Operations Command AC-130 Spectre gunship.

Source: PNA

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