US Air Force F-16s arrives for bilateral exercise with Philippine Air Force
US Air Force F-16s arrives for bilateral exercise with Philippine Air Force

US Air Force and Philippine Air Force Fighter Jets to Join Air Combat Maneuver Drills

The Philippine News Agency reported that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) FA-50PH jet fighter pilots will have the opportunity to practice “air combat maneuvering” (ACM) tactics with American F-16 fighter pilots during the “Bilateral Air Contingent Exchange (BACE)-Philippines” which will be held March 14 to 25. The two-week maneuvers will feature “ACM” between the Mach 1.5 capable FA-50PHs and the participating F-16s from the United States Air Force 13th Squadron. Previous iterations of the BACE-P have previously conducted three similar maneuvers but on a smaller scale. Twelve US F-16s will be participating in this year’s BACE-P while 10 FA-50PHs from the PAF’s 5th Fighter Wing. The American aircraft arrived in the country last March 12.

ACM refers to the “tactical art of moving, turning and/or situating one’s fighter aircraft to attain a position from which an attack can be made on another aircraft.” It relies on offensive and defensive basic fighter maneuvering to gain an advantage over an aerial opponent. The exercise will also allow or feature “simulated guns and missile kill” among opposing American and Filipino aircraft. The ACM drills will be conducted over the northwestern part of Central Luzon. It will be held in Intensive Military Training Area 1 and 2 (and this is over) northwest of Central Luzon. Also, Mariano said this year’s BACE-P will feature Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) on how to use and defend against surface-to-air missiles (SAM) systems.

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US Air Force F-16s arrives for bilateral exercise with Philippine Air Force
US Air Force F-16s arrives for bilateral exercise with Philippine Air Force

Earlier, the Philippine Air Force said it will be participating in the 10th iteration of the BACE-P which that will be executed at Basa Air Base, Floridablanca, Pampanga; Clark Air Base, Mabalacat City, Pampanga; Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base, Capas, Tarlac; and in Wallace Air Station in San Fernando La Union. The airmen will conduct joint training with the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron and 105th Fighter Training Squadron of the Philippine Air Force. The exercise will focus on a wide range of mission sets such as air-to-air engagement, base defense; air traffic navigations and integration coordination; air battle management, air defense command, and control operations; radar and radio operations; and surface-to air-missile operation and deployment planning.

The 7th Tactical Fighter Bulldogs Squadron is part of the 5th Fighter Wing located at Basa Air Base Floridablanca, Pampanga, Philippines. The Squadron is the main fighter squadron for the Philippine Air Force, its origins dating to 1947. The squadron was seen in combat during World War II and became part of the Air Force Command under the Philippine Air Force. The 7th FS operates the FA-50PH aircraft conducting the strategic attack, interdiction, offensive counterair (air-to-surface), suppression of enemy air defenses, as well as offensive and defensive counterair (air-to-air) missions. The 105th Fighter Training Blackjacks Squadron conducts jet qualification and training for future fighter-bound pilots. Flies the Aermacchi AS-211 jet training aircraft.

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