From the Philippine News Agency (May 28): Int'l naval drill deployment paves way for Navy modernization
The capability to deploy modern platforms to international naval exercises like the "Rim of the Pacific" (RIMPAC) is a proof that the Philippine Navy (PN) has focused its efforts in modernizing its facilities and defense equipment, an official said on Sunday.
In an interview, PN spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna said that the assets to be deployed for this year's RIMPAC include one of the two newly-acquired Tarlac-class landing platforms, one of the Navy's five Agusta Westland AW-109 combat utility helicopters and one of the three Gregorio Del Pilar-class frigates.
All of these military defense equipment and items were acquired during the AFP Modernization Program Horizon One, which started in 2013 and ended in 2017.
Lincuna said that this is the first time the PN will be deploying naval and air assets to RIMPAC, noting that in previous years, the Philippines had only deployed observers.
"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," he added.
The military maneuvers and drills are considered the world's largest international maritime war games led by the US Navy's Pacific Fleet. The ships and their crew will be leaving for Hawaii by the first week of June.
Around 30 navies are expected to participate in this year's RIMPAC naval exercises.
RIMPAC exercises, which seek to enhance inter-operability among Pacific Rim armed forces, is usually scheduled for June and July and held every two years.