Philippine Marine troops get glimpse of U.S. AAV's

5:58:00 AM
SAN ANTONIO, Zambales, -- Aside from boosting their ability to operate with one another, elements of the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) working hand-in-hand with their United States counterparts got a first-hand glimpse of the modern amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) during the Balikatan exercise which was held at the North Beach training area in Naval Education and Training Command, Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui here Tuesday morning.

Twenty-one AAVs took part in the amphibious assault portion of Balikatan 2015.

Around 600 Marine troopers -- 400 Americans and 200 Filipinos -- took part in the exercise which began at 10 a.m.

The AAVs came from the USS Green Bay (LPD-20), one of the four American ships participating in this year's Balikatan exercise.

Each AAV carries 20 soldiers and their equipment.

Tuesday's scenario involved American and Filipino troopers "beating off" a fictional enemy, the "Calabanians" who "invaded Philippine territory" after a "falling out" with the country.

In the hour-long exercise, joint US and Filipino troopers, supported by "Huey" combat utility helicopters and "Cobra" gunships, "defeated the enemy" after a series of engagements.

Three AAV waves, each consisting of seven vehicles, participated in the activity which was terminated at around 11 a.m.

“Amphibious assaults are considered to be among the Marines’ primary capabilities and this exercise will be a good test of how our own amphibious units could team up with their U.S. counterparts in staging a crucial vessel-to-shore operation,” Armed Forces of the Philippines public information officer for Balikatan 2015 Lt. Col. Marlowe E. Patria said.

Present during Tuesday's amphibious assault exercise were Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Visiting Forces Agreement Commission Executive Director Eduardo Oban, AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr, and major services commanders.

Earlier, the Philippine Navy announced that it is acquiring eight units of amphibious assault vehicles for the PMC.

The DND has allocated PhP2.5 billion for the project.

The US and Philippine troops begin Balikatan war games exercise in West Philippine Sea amid Chinese reclamation. This year's war games exercise will be held for a two-week period in various parts of the Philippines and involves around 10,000 US and Philippine troops in coastal areas in the South China Sea where the Spratlys group of island are located.

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