ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Philippine Navy (PN) and Philippine Air Force (PAF) have been conducting joint exercises to enhance interoperability and operational capability amid the growing threats in the southern Philippines area.
The first joint training is code named Naval Forces Western Mindanao-3rd Tactical Operations Command (NFWM-3TOC) Interoperability Exercise “Ayudahan” 2017.
Rear Adm. Rene Medina, Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) commander, on Thursday said the exercises aim to develop the interoperability and operational capabilities of NFWM-TOC units in Western Mindanao Area of Operations.
Medina said it is also to enhance the overall coordination and responsiveness in the conduct of joint maritime operations in support to Internal Security Operations (ISO) and Territorial Defense Operations (TDO).
He said the joint exercises are being carried out in three phases and these are: Preparation Phase, August 1 to September 17); Exercise Phase, Sepember 18 to October 12; and, Termination Phase, October 13 to 16.
He said this included series of classroom instructions, lectures, and discussions on the formulation and execution of joint operation plans, subject matter expertise exchanges (SMEEs) and Field Training Exercises (FTX).
The joint exercise is being participated by the following NFWM units: Naval Task Force 61; Naval Special Operations Unit 6; Naval Air Unit-Western Mindanao; Naval Intelligence and Security Group-Western Mindanao; Maritime Situational Awareness Center-Western Minda-nao; and, Naval Station Romulo Espaldon.
The participating units from the 3TOC are as follows: 15th Strike Wing; 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing; 304th Air Intelligence and Security Squadron, 722nd Special Operations Squadron; 505th Search and Rescue Group (SRG); Edwin Andrews Air Base Hospital; and, Philippine Air Force Engineering Construction Group.
Medina is optimistic that the participating units will take the joint exercise as an opportunity to learn and develop their capabilities during the conduct of joint maritime patrols, surveillance and search patrols, and rescue operations in the Western Mindanao region.
He said the continuous collaboration of the two forces is an evidence of a strong commitment to serve and perform their respective duties for the pursuit of lasting peace, order and development in the Western Mindanao. TPGJR/PNA