There will be no sea exercises in this year’s”Balikatan” military exercises between American and Filipino military forces.
“This year’s Balikatan Exercises do not include at-sea events as agreed upon by the Philippine-US defense officials due to the ongoing pandemic,” Philippine Navy (PN) chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said on Tuesday, when asked whether the country’s two missile frigates, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), will be participating in the two-week military drills.
This year’s Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises started last Monday and will end on April 23.
Last year’s exercises were canceled due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Bacordo said the crew members of the BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna are undergoing various training and systems testing before their deployment.
“Our two frigates, FF-150 and FF-151 are presently conducting manufacturer’s training and systems testing in preparation for their operational deployments,” he added.
Both BRP Jose Rizal and the BRP Antonio Luna are capable of surface, sub-surface, air, and electronic warfare using state-of-the-art electronic sensors, long-range missiles, acoustic guided torpedoes, and an embarked anti-submarine helicopter.
BRP Jose Rizal formally joined the PN in July 2020 while BRP Antonio Luna was commissioned in March of this year. SOVEREIGNPH