US, Philippines troops fire Javelins in largest ever joint war games

Nearly 18,000 troops are taking part in exercises, which for the first time will include the sinking by live fire of a decommissioned Philippine navy warship

By AFP

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US marines fire Javelin anti-tank weapon system during a live exercise as part of the US-Philippines joint military exercise 'Balikatan' at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija province, north of Manila, on Thursday. — AFP
US marines fire Javelin anti-tank weapon system during a live exercise as part of the US-Philippines joint military exercise "Balikatan" at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija province, north of Manila, on Thursday. — AFP

Published: Thu 13 Apr 2023, 1:44 PM

Last updated: Thu 13 Apr 2023, 1:47 PM

US and Philippine troops turned their Javelin anti-tank missiles on cars standing in as enemy vehicles on Thursday, in the allies' largest ever war games.

Under a plume of black smoke, three sedans parked on scrubland were crushed by missiles fired from about 600 metres away by three soldiers at a military base in the north of the Philippines.

"As you're recently witnessing, there are some irresponsible behaviours that are ongoing and we should call those irresponsible behaviours out," US Army Pacific Commander General Charles Flynn told reporters at the site, without elaborating further.

Flynn added that the war games were an important show of "collective commitment to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific".

Philippine Army chief Lieutenant-General Romeo Brawner praised the "effectivity" of Javelins against Russian tank and armour in the Ukraine war, adding Manila plans to acquire the weapon in the future.

"We want to also bring that capability to the Philippine Army in order for us to be able to bolster our defensive posture and be able to defend our territory," Brawner added.

The exercise aims to boost Manila's military capability while serving as a US show of support for its Asian ally amid China's growing assertiveness.

Nearly 18,000 troops are taking part in the annual exercises, which for the first time will include the sinking by live fire of a decommissioned Philippine navy warship in the South China Sea, waters that Beijing claims almost entirely.

It follows a deal announced last week for US forces to use an increased number of bases in the Philippines, including one near Taiwan.


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