PH, Australian navy ships hold maritime exercise

(Photo courtesy of the Philippine Navy)

Australian and Philippine Navy ships held joint maritime exercise over the weekend designed to support and promote peace and stability in the region.

The Philippine Navy’s (PN) second missile-frigate, the BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), participated in the at-sea phase of Exercise Lumbas 2021 with two Royal Australian Navy (RAN) vessels on Saturday for the “maneuver exercises, division tactics, and formations in column and abreast using NATO coded messages”.

“BRP Antonio Luna participates in the at-sea phase of Exercise Lumbas 2021 to strengthen cooperation and to promote peace and stability within the region together with HMAS Canberra and HMAS Anzac on September 26,” said a BRP Antonio Luna’s Facebook post Monday.

Exercise Lumbas is a bilateral Australia-Philippines exercise. It focused on high-end training and interoperability that will benefit both nations in increased maritime domain awareness and force generation.

After the series of maneuvers at sea, the two RAN ships, along with tanker HMAS Sirius, docked in Manila for a three-day visit which is part of Indo Pacific Endeavour 2021 (IPE21).

In a news release, Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson AO said Australia was “very pleased” to have IPE21 in the Philippines.

“This visit reflects the spirit of mateship and bayanihan during our 75th Anniversary of diplomatic relations. It also demonstrates the increasing mutual trust and cooperation between the Australian Defence Force and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is part of our robust and longstanding engagement with the Philippines to promote a secure, open, prosperous, and resilient region,” Robinson said.

IPE21 is Australia’s flagship regional engagement activity and a demonstration of Australia’s support for a peaceful, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific region, with Asean at its core.

Since late-August, the IPE21 task group has engaged in a program of at-sea activities, training programs and capacity building with Australia’s partners in the region.

The three-month deployment involves around 700 Australian defense and civilian personnel and participants from partner nations, including PN Captain Constancio Reyes who serves as IPE21’s deputy commander. The exercise runs until September 29.