YOKOSUKA, Japan – The first temporary detachment of U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack aircraft arrived at Clark Air Base, June 15, for training with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) FA-50 aircraft pilots.
In addition to bilateral training missions, Growler aircraft will support routine operations that enhance regional maritime domain awareness and assure access to the air and maritime domains in accordance with international law.
The detachment is composed of four aircraft and about 120 personnel assigned to the VAQ 138 expeditionary squadron based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. Previous VAQ 138 detachments like this one have completed deployments to locations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific and participated in several exercises with allies and partners.
This detachment is part of a U.S. Air Contingent established by U.S. Pacific Command in April with the approval of the Government of the Philippines to promote interoperability and security cooperation. AFP offered to host the U.S. Air Contingent at Clark Air Base to train with their FA-50 fighter pilots and support units which are located there.
The first temporary Air Contingent was comprised of five A-10C Thunderbolt aircraft, three HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and approximately 200 personnel deployed from multiple Pacific Air Forces units. The forces deployed to the Philippines for exercise Balikatan and completed their final mission April 28, 2016.