39th iteration of the largest annual bilateral exercise conducted between the Philippines and the United States has concluded, with around 200 Australian Defence Force personnel taking part.

Exercise Balikatan is an annual training exercise conducted between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and United States military, aimed at maintaining a high level of military readiness to enhance the nations’ bilateral response capabilities. Australia’s participation provided a key training opportunity for deployed personnel and supported defence cooperation between all participating nations.

Balikatan 2024 included more than 16,000 personnel from the Philippines, United States, Australia and France as well as 14 nations participating as part of the AFP-hosted international observer program. Balikatan forces performed a range of exercise serials in maritime security, sensing and targeting, air and missile defence, dynamic missile strikes, cyber defence, and information operations.

Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, said the Australian Defence Force welcomed the latest opportunity to contribute to Balikatan. “The exercise showcased the US and Philippines’ commitment to their bilateral partnership as well as interoperability with other partner nations. The Philippines is one of our closest partners and friends and our defence relationship continues to deepen under our strategic partnership. Australia’s participation demonstrates our commitment to, and engagement with the Indo-Pacific region,” Lieutenant General Bilton said.

Australia’s contribution included of Australian Army command and support personnel from the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment as well as Royal Australian Air Force personnel from No.65 Squadron, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from No.4 Squadron, an E-7A Wedgetail aircraft and crew from No.2 Squadron; and joint ADF medics, flight nurses and aircrew. The Australian Defence Force has been a full participant in Exercise Balikatan since 2014.


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