The Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) is familiarizing itself with the newly acquired and state-of-the-art amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) that are now participating in military drills.
PMC spokesperson Capt. Felix Serapio made this remark when asked on why these AAVs, of which eight were acquired from South Korean defense manufacturer, Hanwha Systems, are present in the just concluded “DAGIT-PA” exercise last September and why the same vehicles are again participating in another amphibious exercise off Ternate, Cavite this October 12 as part of the ongoing “KAMANDAG” drills.
During the “DAGIT PA” exercise, four AAVs participated in ship-to-shore exercise off Subic Bay, Zambales.
“DAGIT-PA” short for “Dagat-Langit-Lupa” is a joint exercise with Air Force, Navy, and Army units and ran from September 16 to 27 while “KAMANDAG” (“Kaagapay ng mga Mandirigma ng Dagat”) is scheduled from October 9 to 18 and consists of Marine units from the Philippines, United States, and Japan.
“Since the AAVs are new in our inventory, we are maximizing our opportunities to put them into action because we are applying our amphibious doctrines and integrating it with the newly-acquired technology,” Serapio said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday.
The constant handling and training with these AAVs would also increase the proficiency of Marine and Navy units tasked to man these vehicles, he added.
“This will also enhance the proficiency of our Marines and the Navy as a whole. Our Marine Corps regularly conducts retraining activities – rotational to every battalion to refresh their skills,” Serapio said.
The first four AAVs were delivered last May and activated during the 121st founding anniversary of the Philippine Navy on June 17 at Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite.
The second batch arrived in August and activated during short ceremonies at the PN headquarters in Naval Station Jose Andrada in Roxas Boulevard, Manila last September 23.
The AAV contract, worth PHP 2.42 billion, are armed with .50-caliber machine guns, 40mm grenade launchers and smoke launchers and will be used for amphibious landing operations.
They are based aboard the two strategic sealift vessels — the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602). (PNA)