Philippines-US relations

War games primer: Assets PH, US troops are using in Balikatan 2024 

Bea Cupin, Nico Villarete, Guia Abogado

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War games primer: Assets PH, US troops are using in Balikatan 2024 
What sort of assets will the two treaty-allies be showcasing in the 'most complicated' Balikatan yet?

MANILA, Philippines – Balikatan 2024, the latest iteration of the yearly military drills between the Philippines and the United States, has been touted as the “most effective, most ambitious, and most complicated” yet. 

Across several areas in Luzon, thousands of Filipino and American soldiers, as well as a hundred or so Australian soldiers, will participate in drills that focus on defending the Philippines. 

What does it mean when a military exercise takes on its “most complicated” version? 

Lieutenant General William Jurney, commander of the US Marine Corps Forces, Pacific and Balikatan US exercise director, explained it this way: activities this year are designed to both showcase and test how well the two militaries work together. Complex military operations, after all, can’t just be coordinated through something like a group chat.

Interoperability refers to the level of ease in which different units – in this case, the two militaries – can work together. It involves communication between people, equipment, and systems. 

Here’s a peek into the assets from both the Philippines and the US that will be playing roles in various exercises during the weeks-long event. The list is not exhaustive, but includes most of the major assets the two militaries are deploying for Balikatan 2024. 

(All illustrations by Nico Villarete and Guia Abogado)


ASCOD Sabrah

155mm Howitzer

105mm Howitzer

Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm Bo-105 helicopter

BRP Davao del Sur

AugustaWestland helicopter

Amphibious Assault Vehicles

BRP Jose Rizal

Multipurpose Attack Craft-BA486

AW159 Wildcat helicopters



AugustaWestland-109 Attack Helicopter

Super Tucano

T129 “Atak” attack helicopters

S76-A Sikorsky helicopter

W-3A SOKOL A helicopter

Hermes 900

S-70i “Black Hawk” combat utility helicopters

Bell 412




United States

AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar

USS Somerset

USS Harpers Ferry

CH-53E Super Stallion

Amphibious Combat Vehicle

Landing Craft Air Cushion

P-8A Poseidon

C-130H Hercules

F-16 Fighting Falcon

B-52H Stratofortress

Mid-Range Capability (MRC) Launcher

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS)

Avenger Air Defense System

CH-47 Chinook

UH-60 Blackhawk

MC-130J Commando II

CV-22 Osprey


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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.