The Philippines Air Force arrived in northern Australia on Wednesday on its first overseas deployment in six decades for combat practice alongside U.S. and Australian fighter jets, amid a rise in tensions with China in the South China Sea.

Four Philippine FA-50 fighter jets and 162 personnel are taking part in the Pitch Black war games over Australia's largely unpopulated Northern Territory, involving 20 countries and 140 aircraft.

"This is the first time they have taken their combat aircraft abroad since 1963, so it is a huge honor for Australia to be chosen as the first location for the deployment," said Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Air Commodore Pete Robinson.