U.S. Fighter Jets On The Move

Following the conclusion of Balikatan 2023 on April 28, the United States and the Philippines intend to resume their joint training by picking up where they left off with the Cope Thunder annual bilateral air training exercise.

The Clark Air Force Base in Pampanga, Philippines, will play home to the international fighter training exercise called Cope Thunder from May 1 to May 12, 2018. In 1976, the Philippines hosted the event for the first time, and they continued to do so until 1990. As a direct result of the explosion on Mount Pinatubo in 1991, the base was moved to Eielson Air Force, now known as Red Flag Alaska.

The administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has been friendlier toward President Joe Biden than the administration of Marcos Sr. 

The meeting between the two chiefs of state will take place on May 1 and will focus on trade and the Indo-Pacific region. In addition, the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement are also on their agenda for discussion.

At this time, discussions between the United States and the Philippines over acquiring multi-role fighter aircraft manufactured in the United States for use by the Philippine Air Force have progressed to a more advanced level.

The exercises will have the participation of approximately 160 men of the United States Air Force’s 35th Fighter Wing who are currently stationed at Misawa Air Base in Japan. The two country’s armed forces are expected to share information and knowledge to improve the combined interoperability of their respective defenses.

The number of participants in this year’s Balikatan, which included 17,600 Filipino and American servicemen and women, broke the previous record for its size. The exercises also included participants from Australia in their ranks. 

Additionally, Washington has committed to assisting in modernizing the Philippines’ already formidable military forces.