US aircraft conduct first air mission in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Four A-10C Thunderbolt IIs and two HH-60G Pave Hawks which remained behind in the country after Balikatan 2016 conducted their first flight out of Clark Air Base this week, the US Embassy in Manila said Thursday.
On Tuesday, April 19, the A-10s and HH-60s engaged in a maritime situational awareness operation and flew through international airspace to the west of Luzon. 
The aircraft are part of the US Pacific Command’s Air Contingent deployed at the Philippine Air Force base in Clark. They remained in the country after this year’s joint military drills which ended on April 15.
The embassy said the mission promotes “transparency and safety of movement in international waters and airspace.” 
It was also a showcase of commitment of the US to its ally and partner nations, and the continued stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region’s continued stability, the statement said.
“Interoperability with the Philippine military is at the forefront of our mission,” said Col. Larry Card, Commander of the Air Contingent. 
“The standup of the Air Contingent promotes this collective focus as we build upon our already strong alliance, and reaffirm our commitment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”
According to the US Embassy in Manila the deployed aircraft would conduct operations such as “air and maritime domain awareness, personnel recovery, combating piracy, and helping to assure that all nations have access to air and sea domains throughout the region in accordance with international law.”

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