A P-3C Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft (photo from US Navy website http://www.navy.mil)

A US maritime surveillance plane will join local security forces in five days of naval exercises in Sarangani Bay starting Monday, the Navy said.

The US Navy’s P3C Orion aircraft will take part in the Coast Watch South Capability Exercise (CWS-CAPEX) from September 3 to 7, Capt. Robert Empedrad of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM) said.

The P3C Orion is a four-engine turboprop, anti-submarine, and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the US Navy and introduced in the 1960s. The aircraft has a tail “stinger” used for the magnetic detection of submarines.

The upcoming drills, the second phase of CWS-CAPEX 2012, will feature a command post exercise at the NFEM headquarters in General Santos City and a field training exercise near the Maasim Point of Sarangani Bay.

“This exercise is focused on simulating the actual operations of the Coast Watch System and its stations in addressing maritime security in Eastern Mindanao,” Empedrad, the director of this year’s drills, said.

The Navy will use one patrol gunboat, an Islander aircraft, two patrol boats, and a special operating unit as “boarding team” in the field training exercises.

Members of the Coast Guard, PNP Maritime Group, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will also join in boarding the “target” boat.

Other agencies participating in the exercises include the Philippine Ports Authority, Bureau of Immigration, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Bureau of Customs, and the Department of Justice. (John Roson)

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