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Balikatan to make PN, USN more 'interoperable'


With two of its frigates, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-16) and BRP Rajah Humabon (PF-11), participating in the naval phase of "Balikatan 2013" which formally started Friday, the Philippine Navy (PN) announced that the exposure to American training and techniques will make it more "interoperable" with the US Navy.

"PN ships and units will conduct various maritime exercises and trainings (with the US Navy) for capability enhancement and subject matter exchanges," PN spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic said.

He added that such infusion of knowledge will greatly increase the tactical and operational capability of the Navy. The US Navy's naval contribution to "Balikatan 2013", which started April 5 and will end on the 17th, is the USS Tortuga (LSD-46) a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship.

Earlier, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Col. Arnulfo M. Burgos, Jr., said naval officers from six countries, Australia, Brunei, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Thailand, will participate in the multinational maritime security roundtable discussion in this year's "Balikatan" exercise.

The roundtable discussion seeks to determine specific humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in high-traffic international waters, and build response confidence among multi-national partners.

He added that this activity will be one of the highlights of this year’s military exercise wherein more than 8,000 soldiers from the AFP and US military are participating.