(Inset photo) WESCOM commander Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos welcomes one of the Philippine Army's aviation team member who will participate in this year's iteration of AJEX DAGITPA. (Right photo) The Philippine Army's Bolkow helicopter. | Photo from WESCOM)

The viability of the Philippine Army’s (PA) aviation team deployment to Palawan will be determined by their level of participation in the ongoing AJEX DAGITPA exercises.

Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, Western Command (WESCOM) commander, said that the army’s aviation team arrived in Palawan on November 6 in a Bolkow helicopter and a Cessna 172 plane to take part in the unilateral exercise for the first time.

AJEX DAGITPA, which stands for Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Exercise Dagat Lupa Langit, aims to improve the ability of the joint forces and the AFP to collaborate across all defense mission areas.

“Aside from meeting the exercise’s objectives, WESCOM welcomes the presence of these aircraft from the Philippine Army in our area of responsibility (AOR). This is a good opportunity to assess the feasibility of the Army aviation’s deployment to Palawan in the future,” Carlos said.

“The AJEX will also test and validate, and eventually enhance the interoperability of our joint forces and capabilities for various missions,” he added.

The Bolkow helicopter’s maiden flight to the WESCOM joint area was also the first time it had been deployed to participate in the AFP’s unilateral exercise, joining the aviation fleets of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and the Philippine Navy (PN).

This year’s AJEX DAGITPA is the 6th iteration of the AFP’s unilaterally conducted joint exercise.

Most of the events will be conducted in WESCOM’s joint area from November 7-18, 2022. There will be four major events that will highlight the exercise, namely: Table Top Exercise (TTX), Staff Exercise (STAFFEX), Cyber Defense Exercise (CYDEX), and Field Training Exercises (FTX) in various locations in Palawan.