MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Navy on Monday morning, August 10, christened two brand new choppers and two hand-me-down supply ships from Australia.
Bottles of champagne were poured onto the nose of the choppers while bottles of wine were smashed for the good luck and safe travel of the vessels.
The new choppers boost the Philippine Navy's maritime surveillance capability while the two Landing Craft Heavy (LCH) vessels allow easier transport of troops and cargo from one operational area to another.
The two Agusta Westland 109 naval choppers are armed with caliber 50 machine gun and 2.75-inch rockets. It will improve the navy's maritime air surveillance and close air support for ground troops because of its maritime surveillance capability, amphibious air support operations, weather search radar and forward looking infrared systems.
Unarmed versions of the choppers are already working in tandem with the country's two most capable warships – Barkong Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Gregorio Del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz – in patrolling the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The two supply ships, gifts from Australia, are christened on Monday, August 10
The newly acquired LCH vessels from Australia from were named BRP Ivatan (AT-298) and BRP Batak (AT-299) to honor the ethnic groups of Palawan and Batanes.
These vessels will boost the navy's capability to transport personnel and equipment during military operations or during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
“These new assets are manifestations of our navy’s optimum readiness to perform its tasks and the ability to adapt vis-avis the emergent operating environment. This special occasion likewise signifies the assurance from your navy of renewed strength and vigor in accomplishing our mandates," said outgoing Navy Chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com