The two-ship flotilla of the Philippine Navy (PN) which will be joining this year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercises arrived in Cebu on Sunday, according to Navy spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna.
“PN arrived June 3 in Cebu,” Lincuna said on Monday, referring to the strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) and frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17) and its attached AgustaWestland AW-109 helicopter.
The Filipino naval contingent along with 700 sailors and marines left Pier 13, Manila South Harbor last June 1.
Lincuna said the PN flotilla is awaiting the arrival of the Malaysian naval ship, another RIMPAC participant, which is expected this Monday.
The Filipino ships and the Malaysian craft will depart for Hawaii on Wednesday and link up with other navies (Indonesian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Navy) along the way for the ASEAN++ Group Sail to RIMPAC 2018.
Lincuna said this is the first time the PN will be deploying naval and air assets to RIMPAC, which is touted as the world’s largest international maritime exercise. This year, it will involve 47 surface ships, five submarines, 18 national land forces and over 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel.
“In the past years we were active and regularly sending participants as observers for the RIMPAC but this time it will be the first that we will be sending our ships (Tarlac-class and Del Pillar-class) and aircraft (AW-109) and around 700 sailors and marines,” Lincuna said.
RIMPAC is the second International Defense and Security Engagement that the PN will participate in this year. The first was during the Multinational Exercise Komodo 2018 in Indonesia early May.
Lincuna said earlier the assets will be joined by a Naval Special Operations Group team and a Marine company.
RIMPAC 2018, the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971, is set to take place on June 27 to August 2 in Hawaii and Southern California, with 26 countries participating.#