BRP Antonio Luna joins Honolulu RIMPAC drill

BRP Antonio Luna (File photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

The BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), one of the two guided-missile frigates of the Philippine Navy (PN), left its base in Subic Bay, Zambales Wednesday to join this year’s edition of the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The RIMPAC exercise runs from June 29 to August 4 this year. It is an international maritime exercise led by the United States Navy and is done to promote stability in the Pacific Region.

Philippine Navy spokesman, Commander Benjo Negranza, said the ship left Naval Operating Base Subic around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Adeluis Bordado and the Naval Task Group (NTG) 80.5 graced the send-off ceremonies for the BRP Antonio Luna.

Negranza said the ship will make a stopover in Guam for refueling. We expect the ship will be in Hawaii by June 26 after a stop=over in Guam, or three days the drill starts

 Negranza said the Philippines is participating in the RIMPAC exercise to show its commitment to “regional stability and cooperation and commitment” to allied navies. He said NTG 80.5 will help develop, maintain, and enhance the Navy’s pursuit of maritime collaboration with its counterparts through the exercise.

He said “RIMPAC is one of the PN’s major International Defense and Security Engagement activities.” The PN’s participation in RIMPAC 2022, themed “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” will be its third in the largest and premier maritime exercise. Its first engagements were in 2018 and  2020.

In the 2018 RIMPAC, the PN deployed the offshore patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17) and the landing dock BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) while in the 2020 edition of the  maritime exercise, the PN sent the country’s first missile frigate, the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

Both the BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna are capable of anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and electronic warfare operations. The two ships were acquired at the cost of P16 billion, with an additional P2 billion for weapon systems and munitions. 

RIMPAC 2022 will be participated in by 26 naval forces all across the world.