U.S., Phl navies sail as one

Philippine Navy ships on Monday sailed in formation with their United States counterparts as part of the sea phase of their interoperability exercise dubbed Sama-Sama, or Together.

The local navy showcased its Jose Rizal-class guided missile frigate, the BRP Antonio Luna, while the US Navy displayed the capabilities of its USS Dewey, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.

The vessels performed various formations in the areas of operation of Naval Forces Southern Luzon.

During the drills, the Dewey launched a Seahawk helicopter which took photos and videos of the ships in formation.

Lt. Kim Paoo Lopez said the navy ships maneuvered to perform “Solidarity, Loyalty and Victory formations.”

“[This] signifies unity, unwavering commitment, and success in performing well to achieve the objectives of the exercise,” Lopez said.

The units then conducted an air defense exercise, which focused on tracking and identifying either as a friend or a foe an approaching aircraft.

“The air defense exercise helped the naval forces enhance coordination and integrate various defense systems. Likewise, it is essential in protecting vital assets, maintaining readiness, and fostering coordination among naval forces,” Lopez said.

The navy ships ensured the safe execution of cross-deck landings performed by helicopters, he added.

The cross-deck landings provided an opportunity for deck crews and pilots to practice and maintain their proficiency in landing on different types of carriers.

Philippine and US experts in various fields participated in the shore phase activities, with subject matter experts exchanging ideas and best practices on dealing with different situations.

The Filipino and American sailors also participated in a demonstration of force protection, shipyard maintenance exchange training, or SMET, and explosive ordnance and disposal training, specifically on mine warfare.

The US Navy presented to the Philippine Navy its approaches to maritime domain awareness in a series of lectures.

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