RIMPAC-bound PH ships join formation exercise

Philippine Navy (PN) ships, strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) and frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17), took part in a formation exercise with other “Rim of the Pacific” (RIMPAC)-bound vessels as it was passing through Johnson Atoll while headed to Hawaii.

Cmdr. Jonathan Zata, PN spokesperson, said the formation exercise took place Sunday morning.

Other participants in the exercise were Japan’s helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH-182), India’s Shivalik-class stealth frigate, the INS Sahyadri (F-19), the American Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS William P. Lawrence, and Singapore’s Formidable-class stealth frigate, RSS Tenacious (71).

He added that the ships took part in a series of formation exercises, which include the diamond, abreast, and line-abreast formations and conducted a communication exercise to ensure the success of the former drills.

Zata said that the naval vessels are expected to arrive in Hawaii by June 26. This year’s RIMPAC is supposed to start June 27 and end on August 2.

Aside from the two ships, the PN is also deploying an AgustaWestland AW-109 naval helicopter and 700 sailors and marines. The PN contingent is commanded by Capt. Ernesto Baldovino while mission head is Commodore Toribio Adaci.

“With the vigorous support from the government and its stakeholders through the modernization program, the PN now has the capability to send a contingent to RIMPAC 2018 thus, further fulfilling its diplomatic role in keeping peace and stability in the region,” Zata added.