PORT VISIT BY HMA SHIP TOBRUK
The Royal Australian Navy’s heavy lift amphibious ship, HMAS Tobruk, will conduct a scheduled port visit to Manila for several days. While it is here, HMAS Tobruk will collect an OV-10 Bronco light ground attack aircraft that is no longer in the service of the Philippine Air Force. The OV-10 Bronco was generously prepared for display and gifted by the Philippines government to the award-winning Australian War Memorial in Canberra as a token of the close and enduring defence ties between our two nations.
This particular American OV-10 Bronco was flown on a total of 130 missions during the Vietnam War, many of them with Royal Australian Air Force Forward Air Controllers onboard. The aircraft was donated by the United States to the Philippines following the war, and served the Philippine Air Force for many more years.
HMAS Tobruk will cope easily with the task of relocating the plane to Australia. It can transport up to 18 Leopard tanks and 40 Armoured Personnel Carriers, and can accommodate some 300 troops for an extended duration. HMAS Tobruk has been deployed to Somalia, Bougainville, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
Australia, under its significant Defence Cooperation Program, is supporting the efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) in the areas of counter-terrorism, maritime security and strategic management.
Each year, for example, Australia provides approximately AUD 3.5 million (PhP 134 million) of scholarships and training opportunities in Australia for more than 100 Philippine military and defense officials. This training ranges from fully funded twelve-month Masters post-graduate courses to engine repair and basic medical assistant courses.