By Martin Sadongdong
Bringing home the lessons they learned, a contingent from the Philippine Navy (PN) is set to sail back to the Philippines after their participation in the biennial Multilateral Regional Maritime Exercise codenamed KAKADU 2018 hosted by the Royal Australian Navy, a ranking commander announced Friday.
Capt. Junjie Tabuada, PN Task Force commander for exercise KAKADU, said in a statement that the Navy team developed its teamwork, cooperation, collaboration and guidance from senior leadership after their participation in KAKADU 2018 from August 30 to September 14 in Darwin, the capital of Northern Territory in Australia.
“This exercise tests PN capacity and capability for combined naval operations. It is an honor that we are invited here to participate and we are looking forward to go back here in 2020,” Tabuada said.
The Navy team, onboard BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF16), underwent various multinational maritime activities “to promote greater level of military cooperation among participating nations.”
More than 3,000 personnel, 23 ships from 28 participating nations, a submarine, and 21 aircrafts took part in Australia’s largest maritime exercise, the Australian Navy said.
It added that the participating units spent 3,500 hours at sea and covered 42,000 nautical miles (77,784 km) after a total of 103 activities.
Majority of the trainings were focused on air assets’ surveillance operations where 140 hours were spent, while 54 hours were spent in anti-submarine surface warfare training. Other exercises were replenishments at sea and air defense gunnery.
Rear Adm. Jonathan Mead, commander Australian Fleet, expressed his gratitude to the participating nations, saying their cooperation contributed to the success of the exercise.
“The relationship built here further strengthened Australia’s reputation as a reliable and professional regional partner,” Mead said.
Meanwhile, Vicki O’Halloran, administrator of the Northern Territory, encouraged improvement in the cooperation of nations through its militaries.
“The cooperation between countries obviously promotes cross-nation learning but most importantly, [it] fosters positive relationships,” she noted.
BRP Ramon Alcaraz is set to arrive in the Philippines tentatively on September 24.