• AFP starts war drill without us troops

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    THE Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy on Monday kicked off a joint exercise that seeks to enhance their inter-operability and operation capabilities in performing territorial defense operations.

    Now on its 10th year, the exercise codenamed “Dagit 2016,” aims to further improve capabilities of both units in joint air and naval operations in support not only of territorial defense operations but also in the conduct of Internal Security Operations (ISO) and in support of Territorial Defense Operations (TDO).

    Lt. Sahirul Taib, spokesman for the Philippine Navy Fleet, said the exercise will be conducted in areas around Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite City; Marine Barracks Gregorio Lim (MBGL), Ternate, Cavite; Manila Bay; and Caballo Island.

    It would be carried out in three phases– preparation phase from October 17 to 23; exercise phase from October 24 to 27; and the final phase on October 28.

    The exercise phase is the Field Training Exercise (FTX), which includes subject matter expertise exchanges (SMEEs), classroom instructions, table top exercise (TTX) and joint training exercise (JTX).

    Rear Admiral Bayani Gaerlan, Philippine Fleet commander, said in his speech during the opening ceremony that the exercise will surely advance the Navy and the Air Force units’ inter-operability in joint maritime security operations as well as foster camaraderie among officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

    “This exercise aims to enhance our unit’s operational capability in joint maritime security operations, and improvement of areas of inter-operability and other joint training opportunities between the Navy and Air Force and it will also test and improve on the inter-operability of our new equipment, ships and aircraft and especially among our personnel,” he pointed out.

    The drill started in 2003 during the term of then-Navy Capt. Jose Luis Alano, with the Naval Air Group and 15th Strike Wing as the only participating units involved.

    In 2007, it eventually evolved to what is now known as the PN-PAF IOX or Inter-operability Exercise when both branches of service have realized the importance of the role being played by each service in actual operations in the area of responsibility of different unified commands.

    The Philippine Marines and their US counterpart recently concluded the 33rd joint military exercise called Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise or Phiblex, which could be the last in the six-year term of President Rodrigo Duterte who has been scathingly attacking the United States, even threatening to revoke an agreement that allows American forces to conduct activities in agreed locations inside Philippine military bases.

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