BRP Antonio Luna to join US-led Rim of the Pacific exercise

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) on June 8 will be sending one of its two brand-new missile frigates, the BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), to participate in this year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise that will be taking place at Honolulu, Hawaii from June 29 to August 4.

Navy spokesperson Commander Benjo Negranza, in a statement Sunday, said BRP Antonio Luna is part of the PN’s Naval Task Group (NTG) 80.5 which will serve as the country’s representatives to the US Navy-lead maritime exercise.

“(NTG 80.5 is) composed of Navy personnel aboard the Jose Rizal-class frigate BRP Antonio Luna and an AgustaWestland AW-109 aircraft. The task group, set to sail on June 8 from Naval Operating Base Subic,” he added.

Negranza said NTG 80.5 will help develop, maintain, and enhance the Navy’s pursuit of maritime collaboration with its counterparts through the exercise.

“(RIMPAC is) one of the PN’s major International Defense and Security Engagement activities,” he added.

The PN’s participation in RIMPAC 2022, themed “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” will be its third in the largest and premier maritime exercise, after its maiden participation in 2018 and its sophomore run in 2020.

“Exercise RIMPAC is held biennially to promote regional stability in the Pacific region. This year’s iteration is scheduled to include 27 naval forces all across the globe,” Negranza said.

In the 2018 RIMPAC, the Navy deployed the offshore patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17) while on the 2020 iteration 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 conducting anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and electronic warfare operations.

The contract for the two ships was PHP16 billion and an additional PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions. (PNA)