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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Philippines, Australia Navies Start Joint Training Exercises in LUMBAS 2012

BRP Mariano Alvarez PS-38 (photo : oocites)

MANILA - The Philippine and Australian navies will kick-off Monday, October 22, joint training exercises that aim to enhance both countries' capability on anti-terrorism, human and drug trafficking, and disaster response.
Over 300 navy personnel from the Philippines and Australia will participate in the 12th annual Maritime Training Activity (MTA) between the Philippine Navy and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) dubbed "Lumbas 2012."
The five-day exercises will be held aboard HMAS Sydney in South Harbor Manila and will be participated by other agencies such as the  Philippine Coast Guard, Maritime Group-Philippine National Police, Bureau of Immigration, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
BRP Bienvenido Salting PG-112 (photo : balita pinoy)

In a training directive, Navy Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said that the training activity will also "enhance competency of the navies in naval and maritime security operations through subject matter expert exchange activities.”
The exercises will include realistic, scenario-based exercises focused on anti-terrorism, illegal human and drug trafficking, and humanitarian assistance/disaster response involving the Philippine Navy and the Australian Border Protection Command (BPC).

HMAS Sidney FFG-03 (photo : Maritimequest)
The Philippine Navy also aims to enhance its competencies in maritime security, surveillance, and interdiction with the help of the Australian BPC.
The Philippine Navy will send the Barko ng Republika ng Pilipnas (BRP) Mariano Alvarez (PS38), the BRP Beinvenido Salping (PG112), and a component from the Naval Special Operations Group (Navsog) to participate in the exercise.
The exercises are also aimed to enhance and develop camaraderie among participating personnel through shiprider program and social interaction.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Needs 155 mm Howitzer, Philippines Train with USMC's M777 at PHIBLEX

Philippine troops practiced with USMC's M777 howitzer (photo : Kapuluan ng Kalayaan)

Philippines Trains on US howitzers at 'PHIBLEX 2013'
'PHIBLEX 2013', a 14-day joint amphibious landing exercise based out of Subic Bay in the Philippines, has given Philippine marines an opportunity to learn tactics and test firepower that Manila may buy from the United States.
Philippine troops practised with US Marine Corps (USMC) BAE Systems M777 ultra lightweight howitzers, which officials say Manila is looking to purchase, and new mortar systems.
For the USMC's 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, the exercise is providing an opportunity to practise deploying across the region at short notice. "Through this exercise, we show our commands' capability to move across the regional area of responsibility we are in, from Okinawa, and to project rapidly anywhere we need to be," 3rd Marine Brigade commander Brigadier General Craig Timberlake told IHS Jane's on 13 October.
The exercise, which also features personnel from regional allies such as Australia and observers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), comprises air, amphibious and ground tactical training missions. For Brigadier General Remigio Valdez, the Philippine Marines commander for the exercise, it is an opportunity for hands-on training with the more advanced systems that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has recently acquired or is planning to buy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Air Force Gets Newly Refurbished Cargo Plane

The C-130, with tail number 4704, underwent Periodic Depot Maintenance last August 8 at a British Aerospace facility in Mojave, California. Upon completion of maintenance, the C-130 left California October 14 and made stopovers at Hawaii, Wake Islands, and Guam in the Pacific before its arrival in the country. (photo : Timawa)

MANILA, Philippines - A newly refurbished C-130 Hercules cargo plane arrived at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City yesterday from the United States, enhancing the capabilities of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
PAF spokesman Col. Miguel Okol said the C-130 is now being maintained by the 220th Airlift Wing and will complement the lone C-130 plane in the Air Force inventory.
“This will increase our capability to help in the government’s national development initiatives as well as mitigate the effects of national calamities by providing lift to supplies and emergency response teams to stricken areas,” he said.
The C-130 with tail number 4704 was sent to a British Aerospace facility at Mojave, California last Aug. 8 for periodic depot maintenance. The maintenance works cost P190 million and was funded through foreign military sales.
“The PAF has been responsive and was able to airlift supplies and equipment to our countrymen with a single C-130 during disasters and calamities; now with another one we will double that capability,” PAF chief Lt. Gen. Lauro dela Cruz said.
Okol said the crew of the cargo plane made stopovers at Hawaii, Wake Island and Guam.
After the maintenance checks, 220th Airlift Wing deputy chief Col. Jose Mirandilla Jr. and his crew consisting of Lt. Col. Ramil Oloroso, Maj. Michael Edrik Encarnacion, Capt. Ian Dexter Danes and Capt. Merrito Quijano immediately prepared for departure last Sunday.
Okol said another C-130 plane undergoing maintenance in the country is expected to become operational by the first quarter of 2013.
“With only one (C-130), we did a lot. With three, we can definitely do a lot more to serve our countrymen,” he said.
The government has promised to provide the military the necessary equipment and assets to enable it to perform its mandate.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Philippines, US Confirm US Navy's Return to Subic Bay

An aerial view of the Naval station and, to the left, Naval Air Station, Cubi Point. (photo : US Navy)

US and Philippine officials have confirmed that Subic Bay, once home to the 7th Fleet and the site of the United States' largest overseas naval base, is to host US personnel on a semi-permanent basis.
The Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that a rotational deployment of US forces had been ongoing since 2011. "President [Benigno] Aquino has authorised this, as have both houses of Congress, and it is a move widely popular with the Philippine people," said DFA Visiting Forces Agreement Director Edilberto Adan, a retired general and former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
"The US will not return to the bases they gave up in 1991, but they will be here regularly and are welcome here," said Adan. He added the resultant increase in joint military exercises would have an effect beyond better interoperability and improvements in AFP doctrine and equipment. "It improves our security and, to be honest, gives people in Southeast Asia peace of mind."
Subic Bay's port facilities were built during the Cold War to handle the anchorage requirements for the US Western Pacific fleet. The US left the naval base in 1992.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Phillipines Spends $15 M on 2nd US Hamilton-Class Cutter

PF-16 Ramon Alcaraz (photo : Timawa)

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines (Xinhua) - The military said today that it is spending more than P600 million ($15 million) for the acquisition of a Hamilton-class cutter from the United States.
Philippine Navy Chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said the second US ship costs $5 million more than the first Hamilton-class cutter which the government bought under the US Excess Defense Articles Program.
"We are installing lots of equipment in the (second) ship," said Pama in an interview after the opening of the Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 2013.
The ship is set to leave the United States by January next year after the refurbishing and training of Filipino personnel are completed.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Croatia Offers Naval Ship to Philippines

RTOP-12 Kralj Dmitar Zvonimir missile boat (photo : nase-sidro)
Croatian and Philippines Defence Ministers' talks on cooperation in defence industry
Defence Minister Ante Kotromanović and Deputy Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Joško Klisović with delegations paid an official visit to the Philippines from 30 September to 3 October 2012. There they held bilateral meetings of defence ministers and political consultation of foreign ministries of the two countries.
During a visit to the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of the Philippines, Minister Kotromanović met Minister Gazmin Voltaire. During the meeting, both sides pointed out the very good bilateral relations between Croatia and the Philippines as well as opportunities for future development.
In line with the common interest of the two countries for the preservation of global and regional stability through participation in international peacekeeping missions, it was agreed that there was a scope for strengthening bilateral cooperation, particularly in the field of military-technical cooperation, as well as in cooperation between the two navies. In this context, Minister Kotromanović emphasized the long tradition of Croatia as a naval and shipbuilding country, mentioning the recent decision of the Government on the construction of coastal patrol ships for the Croatian Navy.

RTOP-21 Šibenik missile boat (photo : Helen Krmic)
The discussions were also about the fight against piracy and the contribution of the two countries, where the Croatian participation in ATALANTA operation led by the EU was characterized as an important contribution to the fight against this global problem. Philippines Defence Minister spoke about the anti-piracy activities on its sea borders, where both ministers drew a conclusion that in this area there was the potential for the exchange of experience between the two navies.

Given the identified potential development of bilateral cooperation between Croatia and Philippines in the field of military-technical, defence and security cooperation, and cooperation between navies, education and training and exchange of experience, the interest in finding new possibilities of product placement of the Croatian military industry on the Philippines market was emphasized on the meeting. Particularly, if considering the fact that the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the air force and the navy, have been currently in the process of modernization and further equipping. It was also pointed out that, as part of the strategy of the Philippines to increase economic growth and decrease poverty, they increased budgetary resources of the Philippine Ministry of Defence.
The Philippines also intend to open additional opportunities in the shipbuilding portfolio within which an important role has the construction of ships for the Philippine Navy.
Two ministers also talked about the Croatian membership in NATO, where Minister Kotromanović spoke about the concept of Smart Defence as a new way of thinking of the Alliance's member states to preserve the existing and develop new capabilities in the defence field in times of reduced defence budgets. As a positive example, he pointed out the Croatian-Czech training of helicopter pilots and technicians as part of the Multinational Helicopter Initiative, which aims to standardize training and save resources of each country participating in the training.

OB-04 Hrvatska Kostajnica patrol boat (photo : ships-forumj)
Defence Minister Gazmin has expressed a desire for sharing experience, stressing that members of the Philippine Armed Forces could learn from CAF service members who took part in the Homeland War, as well as later in peacekeeping operations and missions around the world, and thus gained very important experience and knowledge in the fight against modern threats.
The two Ministers stressed the importance of signing a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of logistics and defence industry, which will provide a firmer framework for further bilateral cooperation. In this context, Minister Kotromanović invited his Philippine colleague in the return visit to the Republic of Croatia when the aforementioned document could be signed, which would have opened up possibilities for increased cooperation.
During the official visit to the Republic of the Philippines, Minister Kotromanović also visited the Philippine Coast Guard Command and the Philippine Navy Command, where he met with the Commander, Rear Admiral Jesus ​​C. Millan. The discussion on the meeting was on the organization of two navies and on the development opportunities in the future, both in terms of organization and in their equipping.
Along with the representatives of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Croatian business delegation composed of: Ruđer Friganović,  Managing Director of the Croatian shipbuilding - Jadranbrod, Ivica Nekić, Director of the Alan Agency and Vladimir Koroman, Director of the Shipbuilding Institute have also took part in the official visit to the Republic of the Philippines.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Malaysia and Philippines Conduct Land MALPHI Exercise

13th LAND MALPHI Exercise : A Philippine soldier, surrounded by his comrades, taking a closer look at a Belgium made Automatic Grenade Launcher on display during the launch of the exercise yesterday. (photo : Borneo Post)

Malaysian, Philippine armies build better ties

KUCHING: The Malaysian and Philippine armies will further foster better relationship with each other through an exercise in supporting global peace.

Deputy Malaysian army chief Lieutenant General Datuk Seri Panglima Ahmad Hasbullah Mohd Nawawi said this could be achieved through the enhancement of the scope of the Land MLAPHI Exercise involving the forces of both nations.

As such, he said, the current 13th Land MALPHI Exercise that was taking place at Penrissen Camp near here was not only focusing on the planning and conduct of conventional warfare setting in the Malaysian environment, but also to cover planning strategy and preparation to face the present global security situation.

 “The main objective of this exercise is to foster a good relationship between the Philippine and Malaysian army who have a common mission in preserving and maintaining peace and security of this region.

“This exercise which started today (yesterday) till Oct 13 is also aimed at enabling both forces to operate together using Multination Forces Operating Procedure with common understanding,” he said.

He said this at the launch of the 13th Land MALPHI Exercise involving 150 soldiers from the Malaysian army under 1st Malaysian Infantry Division and 49 from the Philippines army yesterday.

The Philippines army vice-commander Brigadier General Essel Soriano said it was hoped that the two-week exercise will instil a cordial working relationship and mutual understanding between them and their counterparts here.

“It is also our hope that this exercise will give us all avenues to work and operate together whenever necessary,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hasbullah earlier explained that the exercise was introduced since 1999 following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two parties in 1994.
Since then, the exercise had been held once every two years with both countries taking turn to play host.

Among those present at the ceremony yesterday were 1st Infantry Division commander Major General Datuk Mohd Zaki Mokhtar and Third Brigade commander Brigadier General Datuk Rezuan Baharuddin.

(Borneo Post)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Philippine Congress Approves Ambitious Defence Procurement Budget

Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano (photo : Defense Industry Daily)
The Armed Forces of the Philippines' modernisation programme budget for 2013 approved by both houses of the Philippine Congress on 22 September includes funding for a wide-ranging list of items, including 50 new aircraft.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino described the procurement plan as "the largest and most comprehensive upgrade programme [in the history of] the AFP and a needed one for its largely mid-20th century Korean and Vietnam War-era systems".
Stressing that it would provide Manila with a "deterrent force with an effective but minimal defence capability", Aquino also cautioned that the procurements would be spread over a five-year period. "It won't come overnight," he said on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Vladivostok.
Among the major items to be procured are 12 KAI T/A-50 lead-in fighter trainer/light-attack aircraft, 6 Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucanos, 6 light lift transport aircraft, 25 transport and 12 attack helicopters, 4 search-and-rescue and 4 anti-submarine multirole naval helicopters, and 3 special-mission long-range helicopters.
The navy has funding to buy two Maestrale-class frigates from the Italian Navy and upgrade its 2 former US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutters to bring them up to light frigate status.
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