These Are the U.S. and Philippine Navy Ships and Equipment Available for Balikatan 2023
As troops from the United States, Philippines, and Australia join the 2023 Balikatan military exercises, the Naval Forces West (NFW) announces the equipment and ships available for use in the participating areas. The said vessels left Subic Bay in Zambales last Wednesday. Now, exercises have reportedly proceeded to the joint operational area (JOA) of Puerto Princesa, Palawan-based Western Command (Wescom).
"Said vessels will meet up at the vicinity of Dumaran Island and perform communication exercises while en route for the amphibious raid over the beach of Barangay Samariñana, Brooke’s Point all in the province of Palawan on April 14, 2023," NFW Commander Commodore Alan Javier said in a statement.
Among the identified ships from the Philippine Navy include the leading missile frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150). The South Korea-based Hyundai Heavy Industries provided the said missile-capable ship. It also functions as an anti-submarine warfare vessel. The two landing docks, BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602), on the other hand, carry a maximum capacity of 11,583 tons and should last at sea for up to 30 days.
BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602)
BRP Jose Rizal
USS Makin Island (LHD-8)
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy's equipment list consists of the Landing Helicopter Dock, Landing Platform Dock, and Expeditionary Sea Base, among others. The MH-60S Seahawk, USS Makin Island (LHD-8), and P-8A Poseidon have been identified, as well.
The 2023 Balikatan has roughly 17,500 participants and covers four major events, spanning the locations of Ilocos Norte, Aurora, Zambales, Palawan, and Antique. These events cover command post, cyber defense, and field training exercises. Troops will practice humanitarian civic assistance, too.
Each vessel should also enhance the capabilities of maritime security and domain awareness. The newly acquired equipment and weapon system, which are covered under the current modernization program, will be put to the test, as well.