Saturday, October 23, 2010

Philippine military gets Australian boats

Philippine soldiers train in Maguindanao province in the southern region of Mindanao where security forces are fighting Muslim and communist insurgents. (Mindanao Examiner Photo – Mark Navales)

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 23, 2010) – Australia has donated more than a dozen air boats and trailer trucks to the Philippine military as part of a bilateral accord between the two countries, officials said on Saturday.

Officials said the airboats are flat-bottomed vessels propelled in a forward direction by an aircraft-type propeller and mostly used in marsh lands because of its high maneuverable capability. The donation is worth over 7 million Australian dollars.

Australia is a known ally of the Philippines in its fight against terrorism and has in the past sent military advisers in Mindanao where Filipino troops are fighting Muslim and communist insurgents.

On Friday, local troops have begun training in Maguindanao province, an area where Muslim rebels and al-Qaeda affiliates are actively operating. Troops learned how to maneuver the air boats and also engaged in simulated combat mission using armored infantry vehicles.

Canberra and Manila are also expected to sign a bilateral military agreement that would pave the way for Australian forces to train Filipino troops. (Mark Navales)

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