Camp Aquino, Tarlac City – The Northern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) proudly announces the successful conclusion of the 5-day Philippine Army-Philippine Air Force Interoperability Exercise (IOX 02-23) held at the 5th Infantry Division Grandstand, Camp Melchor F Dela Cruz, Upi, Gamu, Isabela on September 30, 2023 which signifies the AFP’s commitment to bolster unity and readiness in defending the northern region.

Commencing on September 25, the IOX 02-23, brought together approximately 900 dedicated soldiers and airmen from various units of the Philippine Army and the Philippine Air Force. This collaborative effort aimed to hone their combined proficiencies in joint military operations while promoting interoperability, agility, and quick response capabilities.

Unified defense efforts in the North

The IOX encompassed a wide range of training activities, including Command Post Exercises, Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE), and Field Training Exercises (FTX). The SMEEs covered critical topics such as Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, Air-to-Ground Operations, Close Air Support, Fast Rope Insertion Extraction System, Military Free Fall, Hoist, Communication and Support System, and Sustainment Operations. The Battle Staff Exercise introduced problem-action scenarios that were then applied in the FTX, which culminated in Santor Detachment in Rizal, Kalinga, on September 29, 2023.

During the FTX, an array of cutting-edge military equipment came into play. This included the deployment of the Simba Infantry Fighting Vehicle from the Armor Division, showcasing its capabilities in suppressive fire. Additionally, the Bolkow 105 223 Helicopter, operated by the Army Aviation (Hiraya) Regiment, was instrumental in conducting practical exercises related to Aero Medical Operations.

Unified defense efforts in the North

The strategic significance of the IOX was underscored by the participation of Brig. Gen. Rocky J Binag, Wing Commander, Tactical Operations Wing, Northern Luzon of the Philippine Air Force, served as the Guest of Honor and Speaker. “The journey of improvement is continual. The learning provides a constructive pathway to enhance further our joint capability, ensuring that we stand united and more potent in the face of future challenges,” stated BGen Binag.

Meanwhile, Commander of NOLCOM, LTGEN FERNYL G BUCA PAF expressed his elation upon the successful completion of the exercise, “this undertaking will enable units under NOLCOM to perform more efficiently in their mandated tasks as defenders of the north and protectors of the people, and will further propel NOLCOM to becoming a jointly-engaged sustainment-maintained and readiness-trained force.“

Unified defense efforts in the North

Participants of the IOX included Philippine Army and Air Force units such as the 5th Infantry Division, Army Aviation Regiment, Army Support Command, Training and Doctrine Command, Armor Division, First Scout Ranger Regiment, Special Forces Regiment (Airborne), Light Reaction Regiment, the Army Artillery Regiment, Army Reserve Command, Tactical Operations Wing Northern Luzon, 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing, 15th Strike Wing, 5th Fighter Wing, 505th Search and Rescue Group, 710th Special Operations Wing, and 950th Cyberspace and Electronic Warfare Wing, and Tactical Operations Group 2.

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