The Philippine Navy (PN)’s warfare capabilities are expected to get a boost in a two-week drill with its US Navy (USN) counterparts, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Enrico Gil Ileto, AFP public affairs office chief, said this year’s “Exercise Samasama” slated from Oct. 2 to 12 would be held at the Naval Forces Southern Luzon area of operations, with the opening rites at the PN headquarters in Naval Station Jose Andrada in Manila.

“‘Samasama’ is a bilateral exercise between the USN and the PN that aims to further strengthen international defense cooperation and advance a rules-based international order,” he said in a statement.

Ileto said these naval activities are designed to further enhance the PN’s naval warfare capabilities, including the fundamentals of anti-submarine, anti-surface, anti-air and electronic warfare.

These capabilities are now being provided by the two Jose Rizal-class missile frigates, the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), which are considered the PN’s most modern warships to date and were delivered in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Interoperability exercises with the USN will focus on warfighting serials, he added.

“The training will also strive to further improve maritime integration and combined interoperability with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), and the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy (RN) through subject-matter expert exchanges (SMEEs) and humanitarian assistance and disaster response table-top events,” Ileto said.

He said the French Navy and RAN will send personnel to join the SMEEs while the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) and Indonesian Navy would join as observers.

Participating personnel for “Exercise Samasama” include 733 from the PN; 632 from the USN; 244 from the RCN; 169 from the JMSDF; 34 from the RN; seven from the French Navy; three from the RAN, two from the Indonesian Navy and one from the RNZN.

Meanwhile, participating ships include the BRP Antonio Luna from the PN, the USS Dewey and USNS Wally Schirra of the USN, the RN’s HMS Spey, RCN’s HMCS Vancouver, and the JMSDF’s JS Akebono.

By Editor