High-tech PH, US assets to join 'Balikatan' maritime strike drill

By Priam Nepomuceno

April 22, 2024, 1:10 pm

MANILA – State-of-the-art assets of the Philippines and United States militaries will participate in a "maritime strike live-fire exercise" (maritime strike LFX) scheduled for May 8 in the province of Ilocos Norte.

In an advisory Monday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced that the event would take place at the La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag City.

AFP assets involved in the maritime strike LFX include a Jose Rizal-class guided missile frigate along with its C-Star anti-ship missile system, multi-purpose attack craft armed with the Spiker ER surface-to-surface missiles, the FA-50PH light jet fighters equipped with the air-to-ground Maverick missiles, the A-29B "Super Tucano" close-air support aircraft, the Cessna 208 surveillance plane, Hermes 900 long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle and various artillery systems from the Philippine Army and Marine Corps.

Meanwhile, the US side will be deploying its AC-130 gunship, a P-8 "Poseidon" maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, MQ-1 "Predator" remotely piloted aircraft, M-9 "Reaper" unmanned aerial vehicle, and Mach 2.0 capable F-16 jet fighters.

The exercise involves targeting a decommissioned naval oil tanker.

The drill is part of the 2024 Balikatan exercises which runs from April 22 to May 10.

Some 16,000 troops are taking part in the annual drills --11,000 American soldiers and 5,000 Filipino troops. (PNA)