San Miguel, Tarlac City – The Philippine-Australian exercise Lumbas 2023 concludes on July 23, 2023, at the NOB, Subic, Zambales, following a week of conducting a series of exercises at sea and naval cooperation between the two naval forces, started on July 17, 2023, in Zambales.
According to LTGEN FERNYL G BUCA PAF, Commander of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) that this year marks the 23rd Iteration of Exercise Lumbas 2023 between the Philippine Navy and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), which was planned and executed together, focusing on further fostering interoperability between the two respective maritime forces.
“The series of sea phase events provided the participants with vital activities to enhance their seamanship skills, professional standards, safety, and communication practices” the NOLCOM Commander said.
The ships that met and trained together at sea were HMAS Anzac (FFH150) and BRP Conrado Yap (PS39). These two vessels trained in anti-submarine warfare, utilizing a realistic dynamic submarine track to enhance fleet operators’ Expendable Mobile Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Target (EMATT) tracking and localization skills.
They also performed replenishment-at-sea approaches (RAS APP) to support afloat vessels. Cross-deck landings were conducted by both navies, allowing their aircraft to land on each other’s ships for refueling or resource sharing.
Furthermore, maritime interdiction operations exercises (BOARDEX) were conducted by the two navies, simulating engagements with an enemy vessel where combatants were inserted to attack and seize control. BRP Waray (LC288) served as the vessel of interest, providing scenarios for the combined VBSS (Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure) team of PS39 and FFH150 to practice tactics and procedures. The objective of BOARDEX is to board and overpower enemy personnel on board to capture, sabotage, or destroy the enemy vessel.
Additionally, surface warfare exercises (SURFEX), along with Night Steaming in Company (NSIC) and photo exercises (PHOTOEX), were conducted by both navies to enhance proficiency in core mariner skills, uphold professional standards, ensure safety, and improve communication.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines said that the successful conduct of this year’s exercise is a testament to the robust defense and security cooperation between Australia and the Philippines.
“As we confront evolving global security challenges, the Armed Forces are even more determined to solidify capabilities and ties with our allies, enhancing our collective defense and contributing to worldwide security and stability,” stated LTGEN CHARLTON SEAN M GAERLAN PN (M), the AFP Deputy Chief of Staff, during the closing ceremony.
He also added that the shared insights, mutual learnings, and camaraderie fostered during the exercise augmented the existing ties between the two nations and paved the way for even more impactful collaborations in the future.