Friday, June 17, 2016

US, PHL air training geared at inter-operability, familiarization

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 17): US, PHL air training geared at inter-operability, familiarization

Any training done by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) with its American counterparts is geared towards inter-operability and familiariazation between the aircrews of the two nations, most especially the pilots of the brand-new South Korean-made FA-50PHs "Fighting Eagle" light-interim fighter jet aircraft.

This was stressed by PAF spokesperson Col. Araus Roberto Musico when asked what kind of training the first temporary detachment of four Boeing EA-18G "Growler" airborne electronic attack aircraft, which arrived at Clark Air Base, Pampanga last June 15, can give to the Air Force.

"Any training the PAF will hold with our US counterparts is geared towards inter-operability and familiarization between our aircrew, aircraft maintenance technicians and equipment," Musico said.

The EA-18G is a American carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft, a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F "Super Hornet".

"Another aspect is territorial defense although the subject of training has already been offered by the US there has not been a concrete discussion done on the matter yet," he said.

The EA-18G replaced the Northrop Grumman EA-6B "Prowler" in service with the United States.

In addition to bilateral training missions, "Growler" aircraft will support routine operations that enhance regional maritime domain awareness and assure access to the air and maritime domains in accordance with international law, the USN's Task Force 70 Public Affairs said.

The detachment is composed of four aircraft and about 120 personnel assigned to the VAQ 138 expeditionary squadron based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.

Previous VAQ 138 detachments like this one have completed deployments to locations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific and participated in several exercises with allies and partners.

This detachment is part of a US Air Contingent established by US Pacific Command in April with the approval of the government of the Philippines to promote interoperability and security cooperation.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines offered to host the US Air Contingent at Clark Air Base to train with its FA-50PH fighter pilots and support units which are located there.

The first temporary Air Contingent was comprised of five A-10C Thunderbolt aircraft, three HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and approximately 200 personnel deployed from multiple Pacific Air Forces units.

The forces deployed to the Philippines for exercise "Balikatan" and completed their final mission on April 28.

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