New attack helicopters to join first naval maneuvers

By , on June 26, 2014

Photo from the official website of the Philippine Navy
Photo from the official website of the Philippine Navy

MANILA — The first joint exercise with a foreign military will be held this week with the participation of the Philippine Navy’s newly acquired AW-109E “Power” helicopters.

Commissioned last December, the two helicopters will be participating in the flight deck operations of the the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) between the navies of the United States and the Philippines.

Philippine Fleet spokesman Lt. Rommel Rodriguez  said that a training will be held participated by the country’s AW-109s and the US’ Sikorsky SH-60 “Seahawk” helicopters.

The week-long drills will be participated in by over 1,000 US and Filipino servicemen in Subic Bay, Zambales starting tomorrow, June 26.

The country’s team will be composed of Alcaraz, BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35), an Norman Britten Islander aircraft, one Naval Special Operations Group explosive ordnance unit, three diving teams, two special boat teams, two Marine companies, communications team, band, logistic and Seabees units.

While, USS Halsey (DDG-97) or the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Ashland (LSD-48), a Whidbey Island-class docking landing ship, USS Safeguard (ARS-50), a Safeguard-class rescue vessel, two landing craft air cushion, underwater demolition teams, Seabees, a mobile diving salvage unit, explosive ordnance division unit, and company sized amphibious assault vehicles will compose the American contingent unit.

Despite rising tensions between the Philippines and China, Rodriguez said the drill has nothing to do  with the recent conflicts among the two nation.

“This is purely training, a purely maritime training activity that is conducted annually. It has no connection with the current dispute,” he said.