The amphibious landing exercise which took place off Naval Education Training and Doctrines Command in San Antonio, Zambales on Thursday is a great opportunity for Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) units to get a first-hand look on the capabilities of the American amphibious assault vehicles (AAV).
“The amphibious operation serial in this year’s iteration of ‘Balikatan’ was a good opportunity for our PMC to train with the US in the operation of a similar capability,” Navy spokesperson, Captain Jonathan Zata said in a message to the Philippine News Agency when asked on whether the just-concluded landing exercise is part of ongoing efforts to train the PMC on the operations and maintenance of AAVs.
He added that the first four AAVs out of the eight ordered from South Korea will be arriving next month. “The AAV project is within schedule and projected to arrive within May 2019,” the PN spokesperson emphasized.
Earlier, Zata said the PN deployed the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16), BRP Tarlac (LD-601), an AugustaWestland (AW-109) helicopter and contingents from the Naval Special Operations Group, and the Marines Special Operations Group for the sea serials of this year’s “Balikatan” exercise which started April 1 and will formally end on Friday.
These units and assets “will conduct naval maneuvers and live-fire exercises, maritime special operations serials such as VBSS (visit, board, search-and-seizure), gas oil platform recovery, and similar spec-ops combined training”. PNA