The US Marine Corps (USMC) and the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) concluded two weeks of bilateral training as part of Marine Aviation Support Activity (MASA) 22.1.
Held June 6-17 at Laoag City, Ilocos Norte and Antonio Batista Air Base in Palawan, the bilateral exercise increased PMC and USMC interoperability and enhanced aviation-related capabilities in support of mutual defense between the United States. and the Philippines.
Philippine Air Force and Philippine Naval Air Wing units also participated in the exercise.
“Training side by side increases our combined military capabilities, but also our friendship, which directly contributes to the strength of our alliance. This exercise builds on decades of cooperation, friendship and shared experience,” said Commanding General of US Marine Forces Pacific, Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder.
MASA 22.1 included integrated and joint interoperability activities such as coastal defense, advanced weaponry and refueling, and Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE) for small unmanned aviation systems and engineering. Exercise participants also participated in a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) SMEE, culminating in a hands-on demonstration.
“The MASA 22.1 exercise in Palawan is important for our Navy forces and airmen to improve our effectiveness and readiness to protect our territory. It will also enhance our interoperability with the US Marine Corps and build on our long-standing partnership with the US military, General Jimmy Larida.
This exercise also marked a historic first with the inaugural deployment of the TPS-80 Ground/Air Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) to the Philippines. During training, Marine Air Control Squadron 4 employed the G/ATOR in Laoag City to provide airspace surveillance and air defense in support of theater security cooperation and enhanced bilateral training.