Philippines, Australia stage first ever amphibious exercise

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
Philippines, Australia stage first ever amphibious exercise
‘Alon 2023’ kicks off yesterday on the flight deck of Australian ship Canberra. Leading the opening ceremonies are commander of Indo-Pacific Endeavor 2023 Tony McCormack and commander of the Philippine Amphibious Landing Force Lt. Col. Noel Gallaza.

US also joining ‘Alon 2023’

MANILA, Philippines — The first-ever bilateral amphibious exercise between the Philippines and Australia will involve training on amphibious assaults against hostile onshore targets and enhance readiness to respond to shared security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

Attended by around 2,000 Filipino, Australian and US soldiers and sailors, “Exercise Alon 2023” officially kicked off in Australia on the flight deck of the HMAS Canberra yesterday morning. The bilateral exercise will run for two weeks from Aug. 14 to 31.

Multiple ships and aircraft will be utilized with around 700 personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), 1,200 Australian Defense Forces (ADF) and 150 US Marine Corps (USMC).

Exercises will be held at various training locations in the Northern Luzon Command and Western Command with ground, aviation and surface assets from the ADF, Philippine Navy, Philippine Marine Corps (PMC), Philippine Fleet, Philippine Air Force (PAF) and the Philippine Army supported by the USMC.

The main objective of the exercise is to enhance interoperability and share tactics, techniques and procedures and best practices in amphibious operations in the accomplishment of the PMC and AFP’s mission, according to AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Enrico Ileto.

American troops will participate only in a support status, as they will join the Australian Amphibious Force and provide the USMC MV-22 helicopter and other aircraft for a combined air assault event.

Exercise Alon 2023 is part of Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour activity, a flagship international engagement in the Southeast Asia and Indian Ocean regions which aims to promote security, stability and stronger partnership through bilateral and multilateral engagement training, capacity building and humanitarian efforts.

Meanwhile, 14 air force representatives from different countries in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region will attend a weeklong flight training exercise led by the PAF.

The Pacific Airlift Rally 2023 officially started yesterday at Clark Air Base in Mabalacat City, Pampanga.

There are 779 participants taking part in flying training and tabletop exercises and subject matter expert exchanges from Aug. 14 to 18, according to PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo.

Subject matter expert exchanges will include C-130 Maintenance, Advance Patient Movement and Evacuation, Building Resiliency through the Military Band and Chaplain Support for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, among others.

Six C-130 cargo planes from the PAF, US Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Royal Malaysian Air Force and Indonesian Air Force are also involved in some of the exercises.

PAR 2023 aims to bolster operational readiness, cultivate interoperability and foster international cooperation among the participating countries, according to PAF Air Mobility Command commander Maj. Gen. Joannis Dimaano.

Participating countries include the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste.

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