Philippines combined air assault a success

More than 600 soldiers from the ADF,  Philippines and US conducted an air assault near Rizal, the Philippines, during Exercise Alon as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour.

CAPTIONAustralian Army’s Corporal Brandon Camilleri delivers quick orders during a bilateral air assault exercise with the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Exercise Alon in the Philippines. Story by Captain Joanne Leca. Photos by Lance Corporal Riley Blennerhassett.

Using a combination of air, sea, and land actions, with support from the US Marine Corps, the exercise began on August 20 with insertion of ground combat elements via MV-22B Osprey from Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, launched from HMAS Canberra.

Close air support was provided by RAAF E-7A Wedgetail and F-35A Lightning II aircraft.

A helicopter assault force then established a link with the 3rd Philippine Marine Brigade to secure the Punta Baja Airfield, and set up a forward arming and refuelling point.

CAPTIONAn Armed Forces of the Philippines soldier secures the airfield for US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft during an air assault Exercise Alon.

On August 21, a joint raid was conducted at Tarumpitao Airfield by the combined forces, also with close air support.

Lieutenant Colonel Noel A Gallaza, commander of the Philippines landing force, said the exercise demonstrated the defence forces’ collective strength to face any challenge.

“Only together, with our combined capabilities, equipment and soldiers can we promote security and stability in our region,” Lieutenant Colonel Gallaza said.

“It’s about unity and collaboration with our partners, that is why we are here.”

CAPTIONAustralian Army soldier Lance Corporal Ryan Roberts takes aim during a bilateral air assault exercise with the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Exercise Alon.

The event marked the first major training serial of the bilateral cooperation between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the ADF as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2023.

Commander landing force of the Australian Amphibious Force Colonel Douglas Pashley said the activity was a tremendous success.

“I’m very impressed with the degree of integration and partnership I’ve seen on this exercise,” Colonel Pashley said.

“We came together less than two weeks ago, and then we were able to conduct a complex multinational air assault.

“We never do things alone; we always need a partner.

“Young Australians, Filipinos and US marines will remember this for the rest of their lives.”


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