The annual bi-national event provided the opportunity for five PAF battle managers at a time to direct its aircraft from the Boeing 707-derived Sentry, providing operational experience for Philippines personnel ahead of a potential acquisition of a similar type.
"The purpose of this training was for us to familiarise with a system we hope to acquire in the future, since we are modernising, and the bulk of our modernisation will be on air defence," PAF Maj Generoso Bautista, 580th Aircraft Control and Warning Group director of operations, says. "We hope to learn how the system works and how we can apply it to our future equipment.
“What we obtained here was first-hand experience on how the system really works."
Bautista notes that getting first-hand experience behind the consoles provided insight into the procedure behind operating an AWACS.
The USAF E-3s are based at Kadena AFB in Japan, and it is the first time in some 10 years that the type has participated in Balikatan.
Flightglobal’s Ascend fleets database shows USAF to have 31 of the AWACS aircraft in its inventory. The PAF, meanwhile, has Lockheed Martin C-130 transports, GAF Nomad short take-off and landing aircraft and Fokker F-27 turboprops in its fleet.
U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Unit discuss pre-flight information while Philippine Air Force (PAF) air battle managers board a 961st AACS E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) during exercise Balikatan 2015 on Clark Air Base, Philippines, April 23.
1st Lt. Andrew Stokes (left), a 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron (AACS) air weapons officer, speaks with Philippine Air Force Maj. Frederick Facia, the 581st Aircraft Control and Training Squadron commander, and other PAF air battle managers while onboard a 961st AACS E-3 Sentry AWACS during exercise Balikatan 2015 over the Philippines April 23, 2015.