US, PHL jets hold air defense exercise in West Philippine Sea

Security & Defense

United States Marines F-35Bs embarked on amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) conducted an air defense exercise (ADEX) with Philippine Air Force (PAF) FA-50s in West Philippine Sea on April 5.

An F-35B Lightning II aircraft assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during an air defense exercise (ADEX) with Philippine Air Force FA-50s in international airspace in support of Exercise Balikatan 2019. US Navy photo

The ADEX 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. 

U.S. Navy Sailors work alongside service members from the Armed Forces of the Philippines during an air defense exercise (ADEX) in support of Exercise Balikatan 2019. 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.