The Philippine Air Force's (PAF) FA 50 fighter jets participating in AJEX DAGITPA 2022. | Photo from WESCOM Public Affairs Office

Air and sea assets from the ongoing AFP-wide DAGITPA demonstrated their capabilities over BRP Bacolod (LS-550) this week to enable and test scenarios of joint operations.

Western Command (WESCOM) said Friday that two Philippine Air Force (PAF) FA 50 fighter jets flew in tandem over the above-said ship of the Philippine Navy (PN) in a mockup of joint air and sea operations as part of AJEX DAGITPA 2022.

The combat aircraft were hailed as effective “lead-in” trainers and multi-role aircraft for air-to-ground/sea as well as air-to-air procedures.

Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, the chief of WESCOM, said they are showing that they are prepared to respond to any crisis involving the country’s territory.

Photo from WESCOM Public Affairs Office

“The joint air and sea capability of Western Command to respond to any crisis or emergency is very essential especially that we are mandated to protect our territorial integrity and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

The AFP’s BRP Antonio Luna (FF151) and BRP Heracleo Alano (PC376), on the other hand, conducted a Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO) simulation in the waters of Brooke’s Point in Southern Palawan, with air support provided by the AW109 Helicopter (NH430).

According to Carlos, the AFP is capable of conducting joint air and sea interdiction operations to delay, disrupt, or destroy hostile forces or effects before they can cause harm.

“In an archipelagic nation like the Philippines, joint air and sea capability is essential to ensure safety and security at sea,” he said.

On November 10, Naval Special Operations Units 4 and 8 performed maritime interdiction and High Risk Visit Board, Search and Sieze (HRVBSS) on the Philippine Navy ship BRP Tarlac (LD 601).

Carlos said that the Navy’s Naval Special Operations Command is an elite group of highly skilled individuals who can handle all aspects of unconventional warfare in a maritime and riverine environment, such as demolition, hostage rescue, harassment, force protection, and maritime tactical operations.

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