PBBM witnesses PH, US forces’ live fire exercises in Zambales

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. witnessed the Balikatan Exercises-Combined Joint Littoral Live Fire Exercises (CJLLFX) at the Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui in San Antonio, Zambales.

The CJLLFX, participated by about 1,400 marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen and coast guardsmen, demonstrated the interoperability and capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and United States (US) military in the operational level of war.

Through a maritime defense scenario, Marcos observed the coordinated firing of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) at a target ship positioned 12 nautical miles away, representing an adversary force approaching by the sea.

Earlier before the fire exercises, Marcos inspected the HIMARS designed to support an expeditionary, lethal, survivable, and tactically mobile force.

The HIMARS launcher provides 24-hour, all-weather, lethal, close and long-range precision rocket and missile fire support for joint forces, early entry expeditionary forces, contingency forces, and field artillery brigades supporting Brigade Combat Teams.

It carries one launch pod equipped with either six Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS)/MLRS rockets or one Army Tactical Missile System missile.

In a statement, US Marine Corps Forces, Pacific and Director for the Exercise Lieutenant General William Jurney emphasized the strengthened capabilities of the military forces brought about by the training activities.

“This training increased the exercise’s realism and complexity, a key priority shared between the AFP and the US military. Together, we are strengthening our capabilities in full-spectrum military operations across all domains,” Jurney said.

For his part, AFP Education, Training and Doctrine Command Commander and Balikatan 2023 Exercise Director Major General Marvin Licudine highlighted that aside from solidifying the alliance between the two countries, the event likewise bolsters their defense systems.

“This event enhanced the interoperability of the Philippines and US forces in conducting combined joint operations utilizing both countries’ army, navy, and air force assets in conducting maritime security and territorial defense,” he stated.

CJLLFX is the culminating event of Balikatan 2023, which marks the 38th iteration and largest to date annual exercise between AFP and the US military, with more than 17,600 participants.

The Balikatan Exercise is set to conclude on April 28, 2023. (CLJD/TJBM-PIA 3)

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