Some 55 US military personnel are participating alongside their counterparts in the Philippine armed forces in Operational Pacific Angel-Philippines, a humanitarian-assistance exercise in the southeast Asian nation sponsored by Pacific Air Forces. The six-day exercise runs through March 9, with the two nations planning to provide medical care to local Filipinos and conduct three “engineering civic actions,” according to a PACAF release. In preparation for the exercise, a Philippine C-130 loaded with medical supplies landed in Dumaguete City on March 1. US and Philippine service members unloaded the cargo together. “We have already worked diligently together while strengthening our already strong bilateral bond through preparing for the operation itself,” said Lt. Col. Alvin Alana, Pacific Angel-Philippines mission commander. (Dumaguete report by 2nd Lt. Son Lee)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.