World Bulletin / News Desk
The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time.
The United States, the Philippines’ oldest and closest ally, has promised to share “real time” information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea.
China claims most of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.
The U.S. Navy said in a statement it demonstrated the capabilities of P-8A in both littoral and open ocean environments, explaining the aircraft’s multi-mission sensors to Philippine forces.
“It was a remarkable opportunity to work alongside the members of the Filipino armed forces,” said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Matthew Pool, Combat Air Crew 4 patrol plane commander.
“Sharing this aircraft’s capabilities with our allies only strengthens our bonds.”