MANILA – Filipino and Australian forces on Monday conducted an air assault exercise at Punta Baja in Rizal, Palawan as the first major training serial for "Exercise Alon" being carried out by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Australian Defense Force (ADF) from Aug. 14 to 31.
"This marked the first major training serial as part of the bilateral cooperation between the AFP and the ADF as part of the latter’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour (IPE) activities for 2023," AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Enrico Gil Ileto said in a statement.
This involved coordinated air, land and sea actions to simulate realistic combat scenarios, enhancing the forces’ preparedness and operational readiness.
Ileto said the Palawan air assault exercise involved insertion of ground combat elements via MV-22B "Osprey" tilt-rotor aircraft from Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D), launched from the Royal Australian Navy's landing helicopter dock, HMAS Canberra (LO2), to the Punta Baja Airfield last Aug. 20.
The helicopter assault force established a link with the 3rd Marine Brigade to secure the Punta Baja Airfield, and set-up a forward arming and refueling point.
"On August 21, 2023, a joint raid was conducted at Tarumpitao Airfield by the combined forces of the AFP, ADF and USMC (United States Marine Corps) with close air support provided by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F-35A 'Lightning II' aircraft," Ileto said.
Meanwhile, exfiltration will take place on Aug. 22 and will have the force departing from Tarampitao Airfield via MV-22B and returning aboard the HMAS Canberra.
The exercise involved 175 troops from the AFP and two platoons from the ADF, with support from the USMC, as well as a Philippine Marine Corps ground-based security force along with HMAS Canberra and frigate HMAS Anzac (FFH-150) and air support by USMC MV-22B, and RAAF aircraft.
IPE23 serves as Australia’s flagship international engagement activity in the Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean regions.
It aims to promote security, stability and stronger partnerships through bilateral and multilateral engagement, training, capacity building and humanitarian efforts.
"Exercise Alon 2023" marks the first bilateral amphibious exercise between Australia and the Philippines, aimed at enhancing interoperability and enabling the forces to share tactics, techniques, procedures and best practices in the conduct of amphibious operations. (PNA)