‘Balikatan’ troops hone airdrop resupply skills in Palawan drill

‘Balikatan’ troops hone airdrop resupply skills in Palawan drill

MANILA – Filipino, American and Australian special troops on Friday (April 21) conducted resupply bundle drop operations (also known as parachute resupply or airdrops) in the coastal waters of Barangay Punta Baja, Rizal, Palawan as part of this year’s “Balikatan” exercises.

The Western Command (Wescom), in a Facebook post Sunday, said participating units are from the Army 18th Special Forces, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Special Operation Group alongside their American and Australian counterparts.

“US and Australian Special Operations Forces facilitated the training activity that involved the simulation drop of resupplies employing a Lockheed Martin C-130J ‘Super Hercules’ of the US Air Force flying at low altitude. After which, participating forces immediately recovered the materials utilizing Indigenous fishing boats. This realistic scenario is designed to train the participants in the effective conduct of resupply missions in a denied area,” it added.

Wescom said this “Balikatan” exercise is a good opportunity for local and foreign allied forces to share knowledge and skills together toward boosting their capabilities, combat readiness and interoperability.

Meanwhile, Wescom said that its 3rd Marine Marine Brigade and its subordinate units, participated in so-called “visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) exercises held at the Joint Maritime Law Enforcement Training Center in Barangay Magarwak, Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa City.

Among the participants were the PCG, 2nd Special Operations Unit of the Philippine National Police Maritime Group, and the US armed forces.

The 10-day event, which started April 12, was facilitated by the US Marine Corps’ Marine Special Operation Command. Some of the actual VBSS training was conducted on board M/V Palawan Coast at the port area of Barangay Liwanag, Puerto Princesa City.

“VBSS is a critical skill set for military personnel, particularly those involved in maritime operations. The ability to quickly and effectively board and search a vessel is crucial in preventing illegal activities at sea and maintaining security in the maritime environment. The exercise, which included scenarios involving boarding of vessels suspected of engaging in illegal activities, was designed to enhance the capabilities of troops in carrying out VBSS operations, which are often conducted in challenging situations,” Wescom said.

It is one of the many training opportunities provided during “Balikatan” to enhance capabilities and maintain readiness of the two allies — the Philippines and the US.

“The participating team performed exceptionally well during the said training event. Their professionalism, expertise, and dedication to the task at hand ensured that the operations were carried out safely and effectively,” Wescom said. (PNA) 

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