Filipino jet fighter pilots have been honing their combat skills in local and foreign training exercises hosted by military allies of the country.
Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Col. Maynard Mariano made this remark when asked what is being done to sharpen the combat skills, particularly those related to air combat of the country’s jet fighter pilots.
“We have been honing our skills in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat with exercises such as Talon Vision, Bilateral Air Contingent Exercise Philippines (BACE-P), Balikatan, and soon the Cope Thunder Philippines will be back in the country,” he added in a message to the Philippine News Agency on Sunday.
These exercises are carried out annually by Filipino and American forces. Mariano also said the PAF, through the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 5th Fighter Wing, also has a very robust training syllabus for Filipino fighter pilots.
”We have a very robust training syllabus done by our very own 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron, the ‘Bulldogs’ of the 5th Fighter Wing, the syllabus is a combination of US and (South) Korean (training methods),” he added.
Mariano also said that the PAF has three fighter weapons instructors trained in South Korea in 2015.
“We have three fighter weapons instructors trained in (South) Korea in 2015 and we have been building on a training syllabus since then and pitting it against the best in the world in the yearly training exercises,” he added.
Also, PAF fighter pilots have been flying against US Navy “Top Gun” instructors since 2010 and using all the training and expertise learned from these aviators to teach other Filipino pilots.
“Top Gun” is formally known as the US Navy’s Fighter Weapons School.
The PAF spokesperson also said that they have been doing the same with instructors from the US Air Force Fighter Weapons School since 2016.
“And recently, we have another massive air-to-air and air-to-ground (exercise) during the BACE-P,” he added.
This year’s iteration of BACE-P was held last March 14 to 25.
A total of 12 US F-16s participated in this year’s BACE-P while 10 FA-50PHs from the PAF’s 5th Fighter Wing.
Participating American and Filipino pilots practiced “air combat maneuvering” (ACM) tactics with each other during the two-week exercise.
ACM refers to the “tactical art of moving, turning and/or situating one’s fighter aircraft in order 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.
Earlier, the PAF said it will be participating in the 10th iteration of the BACE-P that will be held 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 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.