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Philippines flexes amphibious capabilities at country's first joint military exercise

The Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) is featuring its eight newly received Korean Armoured Amphibian Vehicles (KAAVs) at the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP’s) first-ever joint military exercise.

It is the first time that all eight vehicles are involved in the same AFP exercise, the Philippine Navy’s office of public affairs confirmed with Jane’s on 18 September. The drills, which are known as Exercise ‘DAGIT-PA 03-19’, will run from 16–27 September and are being conducted across three locations at Quezon City, Zambales, and Nueva Ecija.

        Philippine and US marines drive a Philippine KAAV onto BRP
        Davao Del Sur
        (602) in late August.

Philippine and US marines drive a Philippine KAAV onto BRP Davao Del Sur (602) in late August. (USMC)

The PMC received its second batch of four KAAVs in August. The vehicles are part of a PHP2.42 billion (USD46 million) contract that was signed in April 2016 between the Philippine government, and South Korean company Hanwha Defense, formerly known as Hanwha Techwin at the time the contract was signed.

The first batch of four vehicles arrived in the Philippines just days after the PMC conducted an ‘activation ceremony’ for its Amphibious Assault Vehicle Company on 25 April.

The KAAV is derived from the AAV7A1 armoured vehicle family that is in service with operators such as the US Marines Corps (USMC) and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). Each vehicle can embark up to 25 dismounts and can be armed with a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher and a 12.7 mm machine gun, as well as smoke grenade launchers.

The KAAV can be deployed from the Philippine Navy’s Tarlac-class landing platform dock (LPD)-like strategic sealift vessels (SSVs), two of which are in the service’s fleet. Each SSV can embark up to four KAAVs in its well dock for amphibious assault operations.

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