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BRP Del Pilar to join US-PH war games near Panatag


Philippine Navy sailors on board the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF 15) throw ropes as they dock during arrival ceremonies at Manila’s pier Tuesday. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s first warship will join the naval exercises of the Philippines and the United States off Panatag Shoal when it kicks off on Thursday.

In a statement, the Philippine Navy said it will utilize the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), a Navy aircraft (Islander), the Special Boat Team, the diving team of the Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG), and the construction team from the Naval Engineers and Philippine Marine Corps Company to test their readiness and capability.

The Philippine Coast Guard, meanwhile, will be sending BRP Edsa (SARV-002), a helicopter, a diving team, and a visit, board, search and seizure team.

The US Navy, for its part, will send USS Fitzgerald, USNS Safeguard, USNS Salvor, Marine Corps and other specialized personnel.

Earlier, the Navy clarified that the war games will be held about 60 nautical miles east of Panatag and should not be seen by China as an act of “intimidation.”

Panatag Shoal, an area contested by the Philippines and China, is located 124 nautical miles from Zambales, well within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. It was the site of a maritime standoff between the two countries last year.

Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Gregroy Fabic said the exchanges, which will be held until July 2 in different areas in Northern Luzon, will include communications, naval surface operations, counterterrorism and maritime security operations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

The US Pacific Fleet conducts Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat) with its allies in the Asia-Pacific region, including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor and the Philippines.

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  • obionekenobi

    “9- dash line map claim by ROC not PROC” in (1947) vs “Carta hydrographica y chorographica de las Islas Filipinas” (1734)………COMMON SENSE

  • waicocabalo

    War is about strategy not comparison of attendance. The size of the enemy can intimidate but, it can also be its weakness.

  • disqusted0fu

    War games is all that BRP Del Pilar is good for. Because in real war it will just sink against the big guns of any country. This was a waste of money. For all we know, some of it could’ve even been corrupted

  • Jester Rosadio

    Mr Frances Mangosing of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Please make sure you have the correct datas before making any news a lot of people are basing their opinions on what they read, please be responsible. BRP Gregorio del Pilar is not a “lone warship” of the Philippine navy, we have other assets too. PDI, kaunting QUALITY CONTROL naman :)

  • delpillar

    The Peacock Class Corvettes of the British Navy stationed in Hongkong, built in 1982, was sold to the Philippines in 1997 before the turn-over of HK to China. These three Peacock Class Corvettes became the JACINTO-CLASS Corvette of the Philippine Navy.

    Although bought in 1997, these 3 ships are still faster, newer and better than PF-15 Del Pilar.


    1 × Oto Melara 76 mm Compact DP gun
    1 x 25 mm M242 Bushmaster on MSI Defence Seahawk mount
    2 × 20 mm Mk. 16 cannons on Mk.68 mounts
    2 × M2 Browning 12.7 mm/50 caliber machine guns

    • Crusader

      Faster yes. But what use is its speed if it doesn’t have the endurance to keep up that speed. And you forget one reason why they purchased PF15 Gorio: the Jacinto corvettes cannot handle a heavy weapons system like the RGM-84Harpoon. The Gorio can. The Gorio could handle ASW helicopters, CIWS and probably the Standard SAM. The Gorio might even avail an AEGIS combat system, the one modified for corvette use (inferior maybe to the AEGIS of the Burke or Tico, but still capable). Those are few reasons why the Gorio is a wee bit better.

      • delpillar

        The size of Gorio is twice bigger than the Jacinto Corvettes. They are smaller than cutter but bigger than patrol coastal patrol ships. They are not designed, as all corvettes do, for carrying helicopters.

        CIWS and low-altitude SAM are also used in Corvettes.

        The Gorio cannot avail AEGIS Combat Systems because the cabin and the quarters are not designed for high-altitude sensors and powerful radars used in AEGIS. Without proper insulation or isolation, people inside a ship with AEGIS very powerful radar is just like putting chocolate inside a microwave oven.

      • Crusader

        I read somewhere of an AEGIS system for corvettes, not the AEGIS of Burke or Tico. Never mind that. I can’t find the article. Anyway my main point is that endurance-wise, sensor-wise and firepower-wise, Gorio is a wee bit better. Two of the greatest threat to a warship is a submarine and an aircraft armed with anti-ships. The ASW helicopter helps its mothership against those pesky subs while a good long-range combat-tested SAM shoots those aircrafts or their anti-ship missiles in flight.

  • Crusader

    Thank God someone has the brains to include Gorio. “The more its radar and crew is honed the better for it to be an actual
    component if ever we want to truly raise our situational awareness in
    the South China Sea area. Gorio and its sister ship/s will never amount
    much against our neighbor to the north. That’s now the job of
    fighters/MRFs (definitely not the FA-50) which could approach nap of the
    earth and use Targetting Avionics System or the HARMs and complementary
    systems to detect enemy radars and pickle with HARMs and Harpoons in
    range-known modes against the enemy fleet. That way they could fire
    without their radars flashing. Let’s face it. Radar is like a
    flashlight. Once you turn it on, your enemy could probably see the light
    first before you could see him.

    That’s one reason why the Navy should focus more on patrol and
    interdiction. A frigate navy (especially one without AEGIS or similar
    system/s) will never amount much to a carrier battle group. Hell, the
    PLAAF H-6 maritime strike bombers or Su-30Mkk could bottle our Navy now
    and (especially with current progress) maybe until 2030 if we’re lucky.
    But the Gorio and its sister/s have a 45 day endurance (the true figure
    may still be classified). They could patrol the sea in ways a limited
    endurance maritime patrol aircraft never could. That is their current
    niche in my opinion. That’s why they should start honing their sensors.”

  • digital link

    Our journalists are really a shame, a laughing stock for the world! … The Philippine Navy has a lot of warships, why this guy here said to ‘BRP Gregorio del Pilar” as the country’s lone warship, does he know what he’s talking about?

    • Crusader

      Define warship.

      • digital link

        Warships are ships that are built primarily for combat, unlike merchant ships that carry cargos and passengers, warships carry weapons, ammunitions and supplies for the crew. There are many types of warships, such as, aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, corvettes, submarines,patrol boats and so on. The Philippine Navy has 110 ships including 1 destroyer, the Rajah Humabon and the newly acquired frigates, Gregorio del Pilar and Ramon Alcaraz. It has about 10 corvettes and the rest are patrol boats and supply ships.

  • delpillar

    I am not sure if Gorio and other Philippine ships will ever know if they are being targeted or being locked-in by the targeting RADAR of the Chinese Frigates.

    Japan patrol ships, and the helicopters on the deck of the ships detected or knows how and when they are being locked-in by radar.

    There was an incident in SENKAKUS that Japan was vocal about the Chinese dangerous act of activating the targeting RADAR and already locked-in the Japanese ships.

    However, Japan said that targeting radars, are easily fooled by decoys.

    Phase-Array RADAR and Pulse-Doppler RADAR is quite difficult to evade.

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