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Explosive cooperation in the Philippines

From sunrise to sunset, the hills of Northern Luzon in the Philippines were alive with activity, as the ADF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines strengthened bonds through training.

Members of the 1st Royal Australian Regiment, 3rd Combat Brigade deployed as part of the Joint Australian Training Team – Philippines (JATT-P), facilitating training for members from the Philippine Army on a basic mobile fire controller course.

Officer in Command of the activity Lieutenant Peter Kuschert was pleased with how his team and the members from the Philippine Army cooperated on the course, which was held from May 13 to June 7.

“Over the last three weeks, myself and instructors from the 1st Royal Australian Regiment have been conducting an integrated training course with the Philippine Army, where myself and Australian mortar-fire controllers have taught the standard operating procedures, as well as the way that we call in fires,” Lieutenant Kuschert said.

“We adjusted the mortar live-fire training to benefit and improve the skills of the Philippine Army to employ mortars for territorial defence and integrate with the Australian Army to operate in the region.

“The bond that’s been formed between the Australian instructors and the Philippine Army [is] very strong.

“It’s been a good cooperative exercise that we’ve been conducting as part of Exercise Kasangga. The Filipinos have been incredibly receptive to the instruction that has been delivered by the Australians.”

With the focus on calling in fire missions and getting qualified, the Philippine Army’s Second Lieutenant Ricky A, of the 86th Infantry Highlanders Division, was grateful for the training.

“It’s a great opportunity working with our Australian Army counterparts,” he said.

“There’s many things to learn from the Australian Army; we are gaining a lot of knowledge. We are enjoying the training, all Australians are friendly and there is great camaraderie.

“I can definitely say that I can use my learnings, my insights, my knowledge in order to perform this in the real field, whenever possible.”

This training is one part of the JATT-P activities to increase interoperability and deepen people-to-people links to enhance Defence cooperation between Australia and the Philippines.

To find out more about the Australia-Philippines cooperation, visit


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