November 13, 2023
MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines will stage live-fire exercises in Ilocos Norte this week to test troops’ capabilities in fighting together.
The joint combined arms live-fire exercise and urban operations set on Wednesday will be held at the 4th Marine Brigade headquarters at Camp Cape Bojeador in Burgos, a town located at the northwestern tip of mainland Luzon facing the West Philippine Sea and close to Taiwan, where China has increased its assertiveness in recent months.
The AFP said the drills would feature AW109 helicopters and ATMOS 155mm and 105mm artillery, as well as unmanned air vehicles, light attack aircraft.
The drills are part of the ongoing AJEX DAGIT-PA (AFP Joint Exercise Dagat-Langit-Lupa) that combines the Navy, Air Force, Army, and Special Operations Forces to operate together in land, air, and sea.
1,500 troops involved
“Joint exercises seek to develop high level of readiness and responsiveness among soldiers. It enhances the relationship between the services by enabling troops to work together toward accomplishing a common goal,” the AFP said.
Some 1,500 troops are taking part in the entire exercise, which runs from Nov. 6 to 17 across Northern Luzon. Other drills include a cyber defense exercise, staff exercise, and field training exercises.
The drills will also include a small contingent from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine National Police.
At last week’s opening ceremony for the AJEX DAGIT-PA, AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said these kinds of exercises should be taken seriously to prepare for a “formidable competitor or adversary” in the future.
On Friday, some of the Philippine Navy’s ships BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16), BRP Nestor Reinoso (PC380), and a NV320 Islander aircraft trained with the PCG’s BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403) in Ilocos Norte as part of AJEX DAGIT-PA to develop maritime cooperation and preparedness, the AFP said.
The drills displayed “seamless collaboration” between the Navy and the PCG, it said.