Published: Fri, June 17, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

United States sends four Growler attack aircraft for training of AFP pilots

United States sends four Growler attack aircraft for training of AFP pilots

A US EA-18G Growler aircraft arrived at Clark Air Base in Pampanga on Wednesday for the training with FA-50 aircraft pilots of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the US Pacific Fleet said Thursday.

The Growler aircraft will support routine operational missions that enhance regional maritime domain awareness aside from the bilateral training missions, the statement said.

The US deployment of aircraft and personnel in the country is obviously part of the PH-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement aimed to deter China's aggressive military expansion with the goal of controlling the $5 trillion economic sea-lane and counter US pivot in Asia. In response, the USA has vowed to increase its presence in Asia Pacific ally Philippines.

The agreement does not allow the control its own bases on Philippine soil, as it did with Clark Air Base and Naval Base Subic Bay until the early 1990s.

Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam also have competing claims to parts of the sea, a key waterway for global commerce.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines offered to host the US Air Contingent at Clark Air Base to train with its FA-50PH fighter pilots and support units, which are located there.

An initial U.S. Air Contingent composed of about 200 American pilots and crewmembers, five A-10C Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft and three HH-60G Pave Hawk combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopters.



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