For the first time in its history, two PN ships, the BRP Davao Del Sur and BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17), joined the 2018 Rim of the Pacific, or Rimpac, exercises, in Hawaii on June 27, ending on August 2.
Also deployed were around 700 sailors and marines.
Rimpac is the world’s largest joint and combined naval exercise.
The Rimpac exercises included helicopter cross-decking, live-fire exercises, a special operations training, ground-air-integration and replenishment-at-sea.
Lorenzana said international exercises like Rimpac will greatly boost the naval service for prolonged operations at the seas, and allow “our personnel to experience planning and execution of combined naval operations as well as establish the Navy’s capacity for prolonged operations overseas.”
Meanwhile, Rimpac also proves that despite lacking modern ships and weapons, the PN has proven itself capable of operating with its more modern naval counterparts.
“It [the exercise] also validated the age-old principle that it’s always the men behind the guns that will ultimately make the difference. That in spite of the current capabilities of the Navy we were still able to perform very well and on a par with our more modern partners,” Zata said.
The Navy also made history with BRP Tarlac (LD-601) making the first-ever port visit of a Filipino warship to Vladivostok, Russia.
The ship and its 300-man contingent aboard left Manila South Harbor last September 21 and arrived in time for her scheduled October 1 to 6 port visit.
In Russia, the ship and the contingent participated in several activities with their Russian counterparts.
PN personnel toured the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine Komsomolskna-Amure 877 and the Russian Marine Firing Range.
Another Navy milestone, in terms of overseas deployment, is the participation of BRP Dagupan City (LC-551) and the 200-man contingent aboard her in the first-ever Asean-China Maritime Exercise (Acmex) in Zhanjiang in Guangdong, China, from October 21 to 28.
The participation of the PN had greatly addressed interoperability issues between the participating navies. “It’s good that our naval ships can now communicate with China and other Asean navies) so it’s a good exercise and we hope we’ll have more of this in the future,” Empedrad said.
Despite the handicaps, the PN chief said the crew of the BRP Dagupan City showed their skills and resulted in the PN winning the communication drill exercise.
The Acmex 2018 was an exercise hosted by the Republic of Singapore Navy and the China People’s Liberation Army Navy that aimed to promote regional cooperation between Asean member-states navies and focused on maritime safety and search and rescue at sea with emphasis on the use of Code of Unplanned Encounter at Sea (CUES).
Earlier, DND Spokesman Arsenio Andolong said the proposal for a joint Asean and Chinese naval exercise was submitted during the Asean Defense Ministers Meeting in Singapore last February.