Phl warship sails back home with upgraded capabilities
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - September 23, 2014 - 5:31pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The lone Filipino warship BRP Ramon Alcaraz PF16 sent to join the international maritime exercise in Australia sailed home with upgraded capabilities, a naval official said.

“We learned a lot from surface warfare to anti-marine warfare, air operation and other activities operating with the international navy,” said Philippine Navy Capt. Albert Mogol, exercise director and commander of Naval Task Force 80.

Mogol said BRP Ramon Alcaraz participated in the multilateral naval exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and developed interoperability with the international navy for the capability of the personnel and the warship.

He said the exercise was part of enhancing the Navy capability against external threat with its personnel getting highly trained in maneuvering the second-hand frigate.

Mogol said the BRP Ramon Alcaraz was utilized in the international naval exercise, adding that it has the advanced technology to interoperate with the other international navies, such as the communication and combat helicopter for the flight operations.

BRP Ramon Alcaraz is utilizing the AW109 Augusta Helicopter equipped with night flying capability.

Mogol said they will soon develop the anti-submarine capability of navy helicopters and the frigate will be attached with 25-millimeter guns on its sides.

The navy official said aside from enhancing the personnel and the ship capability, the exercise also strengthened the diplomatic relations with other international navies to address external threats.

“Because when it comes with the external threat it is not only one country but other navies, we have relationship like the US, now we have with agreement with Australia and Indonesia,” Mogol said.

Mogol said the navy personnel have been highly trained and capable in handling the ship. “We have proven it during the exercise.”

Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, Western Mindanao Command, said the upgrade on the capability of the Navy is an added strength to the forces on the ground like the unified command he is commanding.

Rear Admiral Reynaldo Yoma, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, said the participation of the BRP Alcaraz is a statement of the Navy in protecting its sovereignty and people against lawlessness.

Yoma also bared plans of the Department of National Defense to acquire big assets that were already approved by the government, like the procurement of the strategic sealift vessel and a new frigate.

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz was scheduled to depart for Subic and will be deployed to secure the Malampaya project in the area of West Philippine Sea, which has been flashpoint in the territorial disputes between the Philippines and China.

ALBERT MOGOL AUGUSTA HELICOPTER AUSTRALIA AND INDONESIA DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE EXERCISE MOGOL NAVAL FORCES WESTERN MINDANAO NAVAL TASK FORCE NAVY PHILIPPINE NAVY CAPT RAMON ALCARAZ
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