Philippines Trains on US howitzers at 'PHIBLEX 2013'
'PHIBLEX 2013', a 14-day joint amphibious landing exercise based out of Subic Bay in the Philippines, has given Philippine marines an opportunity to learn tactics and test firepower that Manila may buy from the United States.
Philippine troops practised with US Marine Corps (USMC) BAE Systems M777 ultra lightweight howitzers, which officials say Manila is looking to purchase, and new mortar systems.
For the USMC's 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, the exercise is providing an opportunity to practise deploying across the region at short notice. "Through this exercise, we show our commands' capability to move across the regional area of responsibility we are in, from Okinawa, and to project rapidly anywhere we need to be," 3rd Marine Brigade commander Brigadier General Craig Timberlake told IHS Jane's on 13 October.
The exercise, which also features personnel from regional allies such as Australia and observers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), comprises air, amphibious and ground tactical training missions. For Brigadier General Remigio Valdez, the Philippine Marines commander for the exercise, it is an opportunity for hands-on training with the more advanced systems that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has recently acquired or is planning to buy.