PH-US navies to hold war games in Mindanao

Posted at 06/28/12 6:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine and American naval forces will hold their annual war games in Mindanao next month, a Philippine Navy official said Thursday.

Hundreds of Filipino and American troops, as well as several warships and Coast Guard vessels from the 2 countries will take part in the military exercises dubbed Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2012 from July 02 to July 10 in the Mindanao Sea, according to Col. Omar Tonsay, Navy director of public affairs.

Tonsay, in a press statement, said the war games are designed to improve the 2 naval forces' "combined interoperability capability," as well as test their operational readiness.

He said the exercises will strengthen the Armed Forces' naval defense capability through an exchange of doctrinal and tactical practices with American troops.

The Philippine Navy and Coast Guard ships that will take part in the war games include the Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Magat Salamat (PS20), BRP Miguel Malvar (PS19), BRP Salvador Abcede (PG114), BRP Teotimo Figuracion (PG389), and BRP Pampanga (SARV 003).

The USS Vandergrift (FFG48), the USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), and USCG WAESCHE (WMSL751) will also join the event.

The Philippine Navy will also deploy one PN Islander (PNI 320) while the USN will provide a P3C Orion and a SH-60B helicopter. A BO-105CB helicopter will come from the Philippine Coast Guard.

Tonsau said the exercises will involve around 400 personnel from the Philippine Navy, 350 troops from the US Navy, 50 personnel from the Phillippine Coast Guard, and 150 from the US Coast Guard.

The annual war games involve surface, air, and special operations units who hold shore-based cross training exercises (CTX), diving exercises, salvage exercises, air operations exercises, at-sea fleet training exercises, as well as search and rescue exercises.

Last year, the CARAT war games were held in the Sulu Sea area east of Palawan.