Philippine Navy Conducts Gun Exercises in Mindanao

This handout photo taken and released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Command on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024 shows the USS Gabrielle Giffords, embarked with an MH-60S Sea Hawk, receiving passing honors by Philippine Navy Officers aboard BRP Gregorio Del Pilar, a naval tradition rendered to ships passing close aboard, during the 3rd AFP-USINDOPACOM Maritime Cooperative Activity in the disputed South China Sea. HANDOUT/ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES’ WESTERN COMMAND/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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The Philippine Navy recently carried out gun exercises in Western Mindanao to test its defense capability. The Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM), through Naval Task Force-61, conducted the exercises near Dassalan Island, Hadji Muhammad, in the Basilan Sea. This exercise, named “Littoral Patrol Exercise 2024,” aimed to enhance and sustain the interoperability of surface and air assets deployed in Western Mindanao, particularly in the conduct of swarming tactics.

The gun exercises involved three Navy vessels and four gunboats, along with other littoral combat forces assets and an air asset. The vessels included the BRP General Mariano Alvarez (PS38), a cyclone-class patrol ship, and two Fast-attack Interdiction Craft (FAIC) named BRP Nestor Acero (PG901) and BRP Domingo Deluana (PG905). Additionally, two Boat Attacks (BA) from the 1st BA Division (BA485, BA487) and a Britten Norman Islander aircraft NV311 participated in the exercises.

According to Lt. Chester Ross Cabaltera, the acting Public Affairs officer, the test-firing of guns is a quarterly requirement for the Navy’s Ready for Sea Surface Assets. It ensures that the guns are operating properly and that the personnel behind them are consistently proficient and skilled. These exercises also included Officer of the Watch (OOW) Maneuvers, Photo Exercise (PHOTOEX), Maritime Air Surveillance/Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (MAS/ISR), and Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO).

Rear Admiral Donn Anthony Miraflor, Commander NFWM, explained that the exercises aimed to test and evaluate the existing Techniques, Tactics, and Procedures (TTPs) applicable in the Western Mindanao area of operation. It also served to inform the Unified Command (WESMINCOM) about the available capability of NFWM as its Naval Operating Force (NOF) Component.

The exercise concluded successfully, with all objectives met. Lt. Cabaltera emphasized that these exercises ensure the readiness of the Navy in the Western Mindanao area of responsibility to protect the people and the state while maintaining peace and development in the region.

Gun exercises like these play a crucial role in maintaining the defense capabilities of the Philippine Navy. By regularly testing the guns and training the personnel, the Navy ensures that they are prepared to respond effectively to any potential threats. The exercises also serve as an opportunity to enhance the interoperability of different assets, allowing for better coordination and cooperation among the forces.

In addition to the technical aspects of the exercises, they also contribute to the overall security and stability of the region. By conducting these exercises, the Philippine Navy demonstrates its commitment to safeguarding the waters and protecting the interests of the country and its people. It is a testament to the Navy’s dedication to maintaining peace and development in Western Mindanao.

These gun exercises not only fulfill the Navy’s operational requirements but also serve as a reminder of the importance of a strong and capable naval force. The Philippine Navy continues to play a vital role in ensuring the security and prosperity of the nation. Through exercises like these, it maintains its readiness to respond to any challenges that may arise in the Western Mindanao area of responsibility.

In conclusion, the recent gun exercises conducted by the Philippine Navy in Western Mindanao demonstrate the Navy’s commitment to maintaining its defense capability and ensuring the safety and security of the region. These exercises serve as a platform to enhance interoperability and test the proficiency of the personnel involved. By conducting such exercises regularly, the Navy remains prepared to protect the people and the state while promoting peace and development in the area.

Source: The Manila Times

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