US ship loaded with F-35s sails with PHL ships in WPS

United States amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) with embarked US Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II aircraft conducted maneuvers with Philippine Navy offshore patrol vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS 16) and landing platform dock BRP Tarlac (LD 601) on April 5 in West Philippine Sea.

US NAVY photo

The said maneuvers was part of Balikatan 2019 an annual US-Philippine military training exercise focused on a variety of missions, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter-terrorism, and other combined military operations. 

Balikatan 2019 started April 1 and will end on April 12.

This year’s Balikatan is the first to incorporate the Wasp with the embarked United States Marines Corps’ F-35B Lightning II aircraft.

US NAVY photo

“The 35th iteration of Exercise Balikatan is aimed at improving both AFP and US Forces’ interoperability through trainings that are focused on mutual defense operations and counterterrorism. The goal of such is to enhance both militaries’ employment of forces and assistance in the event of crises that threaten the safety and security of the nation,” said Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, Philippines Exercise Director.