Marines eye work with new PH Navy warship to improve amphibious operations

by Inquirer | October 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Marine Corps is looking into working closely with the Philippine Navy’s newest warship, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), in a bid to build up its amphibious operation capability.

“This ship will be able to provide naval gunfire support,” said Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Casem, Marine commandant, at a press briefing.

“This is the biggest role of the FF-150 when it comes to execution of any type of amphibious operations,” Casem said partly in Filipino.

He said the Marines and the Philippine Fleet are set to conduct exercises before the end of the year with BRP Jose Rizal serving as one of the exercises’ platforms.

Staff-to-staff talks would also be held “periodically” to closely integrate the frigate with the Marines, Casem said.

BRP Jose Rizal, which was commissioned in July, is one of two frigates procured by the Philippine military from South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries for P16 billion. The second one, BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), is expected to be delivered by early 2021.

Casem said Jose Rizal will provide operational security to some of the Marines’ operations. The Marines, he said, are deployed nationwide, particularly in Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, Northern Luzon and Palawan.

Rear Admiral Loumer Bernabe, Philippine Fleet commander, said the new frigate will be used for border patrol and territorial defense and also for international engagements and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

BRP Jose Rizal, the Navy’s first warship with anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine and electronic warfare capabilities, recently returned home after a 49-day mission to participate in the Rim of the Pacific, the world’s largest maritime exercise led by the United States and held in Hawaii.