In the latest display of American firepower in Asia, the United States and the Philippine forces fired on a mock enemy warship in the South China Sea on Wednesday. Tensions with China continue to rise as these annual Balikatan drills began and are expected to run until April 28. Over 17,600 military personnel are expected to take part in the drills, making this the largest exercises conducted by the United States and Philippines.
The drill was comprised of US aircraft, HIMARS rocket systems and Cobra helicopters along with Philippine FA-50 fighter jets, helicopters and artillery. During the drill, a decommissioned warship towed to a site within Philippine territorial waters was fired upon. US and Philippine military leaders say the exercise on Wednesday was designed to synchronize combat forces. The US and Philippines have maintained a mutual defense treaty since 1951.