PHL, US troops fire Javelins in biggest ‘Balikatan’ joint exercise in Nueva Ecija


UNITED States and Philippine troops sustained their joint training by firing the Javelin weapon system in Central Luzon as defense leaders from both countries met for a second day in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

Troops, including from the Philippine Army, Philippine Marines and US Army Pacific, held a live-firing exercise for the Javelin anti-tank system in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija under the ongoing Balikatan war games.

This year’s bilateral exercise, which is also being joined by at least 13 countries, nearly all of them as observers, is the largest in the history of the annual Balikatan, which will run up to April 28.

The use of Javelin, the first for the bilateral exercise, was preceded by another live-firing exercise by Army forces from both countries. Various operations, including artillery preparatory fires, helicopter air assault, aerial gunnery, obstacle breaching, knockout bunker and room clearing, were carried out, according to Army spokesman Col. Xerxes Trinidad.

On Tuesday, 52 parachutists from the Special Operations Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and United States Special Operations Command Pacific also staged a military freefall friendship jump.

Using two V-22 Osprey aircraft of the US Air Force, the freefall- and airborne-qualified soldiers jumped at an altitude of 9,000 feet above ground level and parachuted towards the Drop Zone Royce, Brgy Liwayway, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija, according to military public affairs office chief Col. Jorry Baclor.