PCOO chief, OCD exec commissioned in Navy reserves

NEW NAVY RESERVISTS. PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar (2nd from left) and Office of Civil Defense Operations Service Director Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro (2nd from right) pose after donning their reservist ranks of commander and lieutenant commander, respectively, in a ceremony at the Philippine Navy headquarters on Friday (Oct. 2, 2020). In his speech, Andanar committed to further serving and contributing to the preservation of peace and harmony for Filipinos and the country. (Photo courtesy of the Naval Public Affairs Office)

MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Director Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro were formally commissioned as Philippine Navy (PN) reservist officers on Friday.

In a statement forwarded to reporters, PN public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, said the commissioning and donning of ranks ceremony took place at the Navy headquarters in Naval Station Jose Andrada, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

Roxas said PN Chief, Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, led the donning of ranks for Andanar and Alejandro, who were commissioned in the Navy reserves as commander and lieutenant commander, respectively.

Commander Andanar is also a TV news anchor, radio commentator, podcaster, video and audio blogger, and a voice-over artist.

As head of the PCOO, his initiatives include the Freedom of Information, Presidential Task Force on Media Security, the Mindanao Media Hub, and Government Strategic Communications Academy.

In his speech, Andanar said as a commander in the Navy reserve force, he is determined “to further serve and to contribute to the preservation of peace and harmony for Filipinos and for our nation.”

He also said he is ready “to help promote our collective security against those who continue to undermine our national integrity and interests.”

Meanwhile, Lt. Commander Alejandro is a career executive service officer and director of the Operations Service of the OCD, working as a public servant for more than two decades.

He was former director of the Administrative and Financial Management Service and Policy Development and Planning Service of the office, having been appointed as Director III by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.

Alejandro recounted that during his stint as director of OCD 5 (Bicol), he witnessed “the dedication and professionalism of the gallant sailors and marines of the PN.”

“They always place their duty first among others. Thus, I am proud, a witness of the heroism of the Navy. Now I stand with you together, as a member of the Philippine Navy Reserve Force,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bacordo described the two government officials and now Navy reservists as “individuals who are ready to take on responsibilities.”

“Your present roles in the government are instrumental in keeping the integrity of our institutions,” he said. “You are already civil servants on your own but still chose to add another commitment (on) your list.”

Bacordo noted that joining the Philippine Navy as a reserve force entails a deep understanding of their role in the accomplishment of the AFP’s over-all mission.

“We are indeed deeply grateful for choosing to work and nurture important Navy objectives with us,” he said.

PN reservists play an important role as force multipliers as they are engaged in medical and civic action programs, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations. (PNA)

BRP Jose Rizal to ‘show’ PH flag off PH Rise, Fuga Island

MANILA – Missile-frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) will conduct a ‘show the flag’ mission off Benham Rise (now Philippine Rise) and Fuga Island in Cagayan province before sailing to Subic Bay, Zambales on September 23.

The Philippine Navy (PN) public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, made this remark when sought for updates on the ship’s estimated time of arrival (ETA) after the naval vessel’s scheduled departure from Guam on Friday.

“Latest update, ETA Subic (Bay) will be on September 23. The ship and the 125 contingent aboard will do a show the flag mission in Benham Rise and near Fuga Island en route to Subic,” she said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.

Now called the Philippine Rise, and formerly Benham Rise, is an extinct volcanic ridge located in the Philippine Sea approximately 250 km east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela. Fuga Island, meanwhile, is located north of Luzon, part of the Babuyan archipelago, which is the second-northernmost island group of the Philippines.

“They will conduct passing exercises from these two areas with designated Navy vessel or aircraft, for now, I don’t have the details yet on what assets will be committed for this PassEx,” Roxas said.

Once this mission is completed, all naval personnel will be subjected to swab testing upon arrival at Subic Bay.

“If everything will turn out okay, arrival ceremony will follow,” she added.

The BRP Jose Rizal left Guam at around 6 p.m. (Guam time) after completing refueling.

The ship arrived in Guam on Wednesday for re-provisioning and re-fuelling after leaving Pearl Harbor Hawaii on Sept. 4, following its successful participation in this year’s ‘Rim of the Pacific’ exercises on 17 to 31 August. (PNA) (IA/DS)

90 ships, 900 seafarers to divert to PH per month for crew change


MANILA – A Japanese mariner’s group on Friday said that about 90 of its member vessels and 900 seafarers will be diverted to the Philippines for crew changes.

In a letter addressed to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the International Mariners Management Association of Japan (IMMAJ) said the figures would result in an average of three vessels per day and 10 seafarers replaced among each of the country’s three crew change hubs — Port of Manila, Port of Capinpin in Orion, Bataan; and Subic Bay Freeport.

“These numbers are subject to change, depending on the situation that may affect a ship’s arrival in Manila Bay,” the letter read.

The letter, signed by IMMAJ Chairman Captain Koichi Akamine, thanked the PPA for opening the Port of Capinpin, noting that the Philippines is one of the few countries in the world that remained open for crew changes.

“This time, you have opened another door by enabling us to use Bataan. We would again appreciate your understanding and cooperation as well as the time and efforts you dedicated to the shipping industry,” the IMMAJ said.

Through the crew change hubs, shipping companies will have the opportunity to “efficiently replace seafarers,” enabling the continued operation of many commercial vessels.

On August 28, the Philippines, represented by the Maritime Industry Authority, committed to becoming a major international hub for crew change during the 39th Meeting of the Maritime Transport Working Group of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

According to the Department of Transportation, crew change hubs are ports that have ‘one-stop-shops’ for health screening, customs, immigration, and quarantine facilities to process off-signed and on-signed seafarers — both Filipino and foreign. (PNA)

Spike NLOS, Blue Shark “in-country” — PH Navy

SPIKE-NLOS and Blue Shark are munitions for the major weapons system of the Philippine (PH) Navy — two anti-submarine helicopters, the Leonardo (formerly AugustaWestland) AW159s, also formerly known as Lynx Wildcat — and are here “already in-country,” according to Navy chief and Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo. He said deliveries of the weapons were completed in Q4 of last year.

With a complete assemblage of mission essential equipment, integrated logistics support system, and munitions, Bacordo expects pilots and aircrew of the AW159s to be fully trained and to further improve on the use of weapons to gain proficiency in handling them. The two AW159s were acquired to complement the anti-surface warfare (ASW) capabilities of the Jose Rizal-class frigates. The helicopters arrived in May 2019 and were immediately commissioned on June of the same year. Total cost for the munitions, mission essential equipment, and integrated logistics support is PhP 5.4 billion.

Technical Specs
Spike NLOS missile. The Spike-NLOS (non-line of sight) missile is packed with capability to engage hostile vessels beyond visual range or “over the horizon” range and indirect attack capabilities. A product of Rafael in Israel, the Spike NLOS is a long-range anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system employed by a wide range of launch platforms, including helicopters, tank destroyers, light vehicles, and even watercraft. Thirty countries have this weapon in their arsenal in multiple variants and numbers. These missiles are available in man-portable, vehicle-launched, and helicopter-launched variants.

The Spike NLOS is an Israeli fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile
and anti-personnel missile with a tandem-charge high-explosive
anti-tank (HEAT warhead) now in its fourth-generation.

Length ranges from 3 feet to about 5 and a half feet while mass vary according to bundle, use, and specifications. The NLOS is significantly larger than other Spike variants with an overall weight of around 70kg (154 lb and 5 oz.) It can be launched from the ground or from helicopters. It is ready to launch in 30 seconds and reloads in 15, with an effective firing range of 600 to 25,000 meters (660 to 27,340 yd). It is equipped with a solid propellant rocket engine with piezo-electic trigger and infrared homing (heat-seeking)-electro optical, passive CCD (charge-coupled device), or dual CCD/infraed seeker guidance systems. It has 10x optical sight.

The Blue Shark is a light anti-submarine torpedo that can be deployed from surface ships,
ASW helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft. Blue Shark torpedoes are fitted
to the Incheon class frigate ( a.k.a. FFX or the Future Frigate eXperimental).

BlueShark K745 Torpedo. The Blue Shark anti-submarine torpedo comes with a mass of 280 kg and length of 2.7 meters. It is equipped with operational range of 19 km at maximum speed of 45+ knots (83+ kn/h) and uses an acoustic guidance system. This weapon originates from South Korea (SoKor) is used by the Republic of Korea (SoKor’s official name) Navy and the Philippine Navy.

BRP Jose Rizal to ‘show’ PH flag off PH Rise, Fuga Island

ETA Subic Bay: September 23

The missile-frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) ship and the 125 contingent aboard will do a ‘show the flag’ mission in Benham Rise and near Fuga Island en route to Subic,” Philippine Navy (PN) public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.

Now called the Philippine Rise, and formerly Benham Rise, is an extinct volcanic ridge located in the Philippine Sea approximately 250 km east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela. Fuga Island, meanwhile, is located north of Luzon, part of the Babuyan archipelago, which is the second-northernmost island group of the Philippines. Read more

Naval Task Group 80.5 lauded for RIMPAC 2020 efforts

Philippine Navy Captain Jerry Garrido, NTG 80.5 chief and concurrent commanding officer of the country’s first missile frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), lauded all 125 members of the contingent for all their hard work in making sure that Philippine participation in the biennial naval exercise will be a success.

This, he said, greatly helped “(in) promoting the Philippine Navy’s objective of strengthening the relationship and multilateral cooperation among regional and extra-regional navies with their eager participation in this RIMPAC exercise.”

The two-week RIMPAC exercise also served as the ‘shakedown cruise’ of BRP Jose Rizal, which was officially commissioned on July 10 at Alava Wharf in Subic Bay, Zambales, departing on July 29 and arriving in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on August 15 after a fueling stop in Guam on August 2. Read more

PH Navy says won’t fire ‘first shot’ despite provocations in WPS

“The one who fires the first shot loses public support because in so many of our engagements, we reiterated that we should resolve our issues through peaceful means,” Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said in an interview.

Bacordo was referring to an incident that involved the anti-submarine corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), which was allegedly targeted by the fire-control system of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army navy corvette it encountered while patrolling off at the Kalayaan Island Group on 17 February.

“Remember the February incident where the Chinese navy pointed their fire-control system in the direction of (BRP) Conrado Yap is an example of a provoking action from one navy ship to another navy ship. Firing the first shot, would be a very unpopular move,” Bacordo said. Read more

The AW159 mission capability. In addition to war-fighting roles, the highly adaptable AW159 is capable of performing a large variety of missions including: medical evacuation, search and rescue (SAR), special forces or troop insertion and transport of internal and underslung loads for vertical replenishment. It is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx designed to serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles. This technologically advanced aircraft has a fully integrated and comprehensive suite of mission systems operated through a tactical processor. Its human machine interface is designed to reduce aircrew workload and increase cockpit capacity, thus, improving situational awareness and mission effectiveness.

Two AW159s on a test flight.

According to Leonardo, its manufacturer since 2016, the AW159 is designed with high levels of survivability and crash-worthiness brought about by its ballistic tolerant design, self-sealing fuel tanks and armoured protection. Its short readiness times and high availability rates ensure it is prepared for operations in whatever the conditions, when others are not.

Formerly AgustaWestland, the reason for the ‘AW’ in AW159 Wildcat, it was also previously called the Future Lynx and Lynx Wildcat. It is a British military helicopter and carries two pilots with maximum passenger capacity of 6, including door gunner. It stands 15.24 meters (50 ft 0 in) long with a height of 3.73 meters (12 ft 3 in) and weighs 3,300 kg (7,275 lb). It can lift to a maximum takeoff weight of 6,000 kg (13,228 lb). While its main rotor diameter is 12.8 meters (42 ft 0 in), its main rotor area encompasses 128.7 square meters (1,385 sq ft).

The AW159 Wildcat takes maximum speed of 311 km/h (193 mph, 168 kn) with a range of 777 km (483 mi, 420 nmi), ferry range of 963 km (598 mi, 520 nmi), and endurance of 2 hours and 15 min or 4 hours and 30 min with auxiliary fuel tanks. It is equipped with armament pintle-mounted machine gun (e.g. FN MAG for army use or Browning M3M for the navy.

AW159 Wildcat primary users are the Philippine Navy, the Republic of South Korea Navy, the Army Air Corps of the United Kingdom and the Royal Navy. (/DS)

Featured Photo: The AW159’s multifaceted role: multipurpose utility, search and rescue (SAR), and an ASW machine.

Naval Task Group 80.5 lauded for RIMPAC 2020 efforts

MANILA – The commander of the Philippine Navy (PH Navy) contingent to the RIMPAC 2020 exercises, Navy Captain Jerry Garrido, NTG 80.5, expressed his appreciation for the dedication shown by all members of the Naval Task Group (NTG) 80.5 which participated in the two-week long ‘Rim of the Pacific’ (RIMPAC) exercises off the coast of Hawaii from August 17 to 31.

Garrido, who is chief and concurrent commanding officer of the country’s first missile frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), lauded all 125 members of the contingent for all their hard work in making sure that Philippine participation in the biennial naval exercise was a success. This, he said, greatly helped in “promoting the Philippine Navy’s objective of strengthening the relationship and multilateral cooperation among regional and extra-regional navies.”

Members of the Naval Task Group 80.5 pose for a photo opportunity
at the closing ceremony of the 'Rim of the Pacific' at the Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, 1 September 2020.
JOB WELL DONE. Members of the Naval Task Group 80.5 pose for a photo opportunity
at the closing ceremony of the ‘Rim of the Pacific’ at the Pearl Harbor in Hawaii,
Tuesday, 1 September 2020. The biennial exercise took place from 17 to 31
August off the coast of Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of PH Naval Public Affairs Office)

The two-week exercise also served as the ‘shakedown cruise’ of BRP Jose Rizal which was officially commissioned on 10 July at the Alava Wharf in Subic Bay, Zambales, departing on July 29 and arriving in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 15 August after a fueling stop in Guam last 2 August.

“FF-150, with 125-strong men and women of Naval Task Group 80.5, successfully participated in serialized training, advanced integration, and free play training activities that were purely executed at sea amid the prevailing global pandemic,” PH Navy public affairs office chief Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas said.

This year’s RIMPAC included 53 replenishment-at-sea events, 101 pallets of cargo distributed, over 16,000 rounds of small arms munitions shot, over 1,000 large caliber weapons fired, 13 missiles expended, and 1,100 pounds of mail delivered.

“These multi-dimensional training exercises allowed the members of NTG 80.5 to work in conjunction as they put into test the PH Navy’s first four-dimensional warfare-capable frigate that is at par with those of other participating navies,” Roxas said.

She added that the PH Navy’s participation in a naval exercise of such magnitude advances its maritime operational capability to a multilateral level, thus, increasing its readiness and inter-operability with foreign navies. It further builds and strengthens mutual understanding through cooperative activities of multi-national maritime forces.

Meanwhile, PH Navy chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo congratulated the NTG 80.5 for “completing all given serials of the exercise which demonstrates her (FF-150’s) capability to handle various operational requirements” without any derangement on the frigate’s weapons, communications, electronics, and information system hull, machinery, and electrical systems.

Also, Bacordo said the PH Navy contingent took advantage of RIMPAC 2020 to train as a team, put the ship at pace with possible real-world scenarios, and got the crew to gel.

As this developed, US 3rd Fleet and RIMPAC20 commander Vice Admiral Scott Conn, during the closing ceremony on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time), visited the area where the ships of the 10 participating nations — including the Philippines’ BRP Jose Rizal — are docked to congratulate them for taking part in the exercise.

“We strengthened relationships and deepened our sense of trust in one another. Each one of our navies has something to offer and that diverse range of knowledge and professionalism is what makes us stronger, and allows us to work together to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region and ultimately, our collective prosperity,” he added. (PNA)

Fatured Photo: BRP Jose Rizal (FF 150), with its 125 strong contingent joins the Rim of the Pacific, RIMPAC 2020, naval exercises off the coast of Hawaii, 17-31 August. BRP Jose Rizal (FF 150) is the first multi-purpose frigate of the PH Navy that is capable of carrying out anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine and electronic warfare. It was commissioned 10 July this year and is the newest among all ships for RIMPAC 2020.