Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel have deployed to the Philippines for Exercise Balikatan 2017—an annual exercise hosted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and United States Pacific Command (US PACOM).
The ADF will participate in the exercise series for the fourth time.
Air Commodore Noel Derwort, Director General Engagement and Assessment, Headquarters Joint Operations Command said Exercise Balikatan demonstrates Australia’s commitment to build regional capacity in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and regional security.
“This exercise allows us to build on our strong relationship with the Armed Forces of the Philippines while maintaining good interoperability with United States Pacific Command,” Air Commodore Derwort said.
“This year’s exercise has already seen ADF personnel return to Ormoc City on Leyte Island where they made an important contribution to the recovery from Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
“Other ADF personnel are contributing to exercises that build regional capacity to respond with HADR and security operations.”
Exercise Balikatan 2017 runs from 08–19 May and will involve 80 ADF personnel.
The exercise includes a Command Post Exercise component, a Humanitarian Civic Assistance program on Leyte and Samar Islands and a range of military training activities involving an Air Force AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and personnel from Special Operations Command.