New Navy attack helicopters to join first naval maneuvers
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - June 25, 2014 - 3:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — Among the Philippine Navy's newest acquisitions, the AW-109E "Power" helicopters will have their first joint exercise with a foreign military this week.

Philippine Fleet spokesman Lt. Rommel Rodriguez said Wednesday that the two helicopters, commissioned in December, will participate in the flight deck operations phase of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) between the navies of the United States and the Philippines.

Rodriguez said that the AW-109s will be training alongside the US' Sikorsky SH-60 "Seahawk" helicopters.

The AW-109Es first made their shipboard deployment on May 21 aboard the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16).

Over 1,000 US and Filipino servicemen will join the week-long drills in Subic Bay, Zambales starting Thursday, June 26.

The American contingent will consist of the USS Halsey (DDG-97) or the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Ashland (LSD-48), a Whidbey Island-class docking landing ship, USS Safeguard (ARS-50), a Safeguard-class rescue vessel, two landing craft air cushion, underwater demolition teams, Seabees, a mobile diving salvage unit, explosive ordnance division unit, and company sized amphibious assault vehicles.

The Alcaraz, BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35), an Norman Britten Islander aircraft, one Naval Special Operations Group explosive ordnance unit, three diving teams, two special boat teams, two Marine companies, communications team, band, logistic and Seabees units make up the Philippine contingent.

Rodriguez dispelled speculations that the joint training with the US has something to do with the escalating maritime disputes with China, which has occupied the Scarborough (Bajo de Masinloc) Shoal near Zambales.

"This is purely training, a purely maritime training activity that is conducted annually. It has no connection with the current dispute," he said.

He said that the bilateral exercises have been conducted annually in the last 20 years.

"Just to emphasize that both our Navies have conducted CARAT activities in different areas in the Philippines, the previous CARAT exercise in 2009 was in Cebu, 2010 in Subic, 2011 in Palawan, 2012 held in Mindanao, in 2013 in Subic," Rodriguez said.

Subic Bay is about 147 nautical miles from Scarborough, which China has restricted Philippine access from during a standoff in 2012.

Related: Attack helicopters set for delivery

"Carat is on its 20th year now since its inception (and) this shows the longstanding relations between the two allies," Rodriguez said.

The Philippines is a defense treaty ally of the  United States. PNA with Camille Diola

AMONG THE PHILIPPINE NAVY ARLEIGH BURKE CAMILLE DIOLA COOPERATION AFLOAT READINESS AND TRAINING EMILIO JACINTO GREGORIO DEL PILAR JOHN S NAVAL SPECIAL OPERATIONS GROUP NORMAN BRITTEN ISLANDER SUBIC BAY
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with