TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Philippine Air Force on Wednesday (Nov. 22) announced that it is conducting patrols with its U.S. counterparts in waters to the southeast of Taiwan.
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Facebook announced that two of its FA-50H fighter jets participated in the Philippine-U.S. Maritime Cooperative Activity (MCA) on Tuesday (Nov. 21) "in the vicinity of Batanes" which is about 200 km southeast of Taiwan. It said the aircraft also flew in areas of the West Philippine Sea.
The PAF said this is part of continuing efforts by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to bolster interoperability with U.S. forces. It explained that these joint exercises between air and naval forces of the AFP and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) will continue until Nov. 23.
According to the PAF, additional types of air assets will also be deployed in the exercises. The PAF closed by saying it "remains committed to ensuring the readiness of its air assets to support the AFP's efforts in protecting our national territory and maritime interests as well as maintaining peace and security in the region."
In the post uploaded on Tuesday, the PAF included photos taken by its Fifth Fighterwing and the U.S. Air Force's 353rd Special Operations Wing. On Thursday (Nov. 23), it uploaded a video showing highlights of joint patrols between PAF and USINDOPACOM aircraft conducted on Nov. 21 over the Northern Luzon Command's Joint Area of Operations.
The PAF said the exercises were designed to test "joint flight doctrines" and further boost interoperability and fortify regional cooperation between "long-standing allies."
When asked by Taiwan News to comment on the Philippine-U.S. exercises, the Ministry of National Defense said: "In response to the military operations of various countries around Taiwan, the armed forces utilized various intelligence surveillance methods and communication mechanisms with regional partners to appropriately grasp the situation."