Philippine Navy’s Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NFNL) and United States Navy Destroyer Squadron Seven (DESRON7) conducted the Final Planning Conference for the upcoming Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Sama Sama 2018 at San Fernando City, La Union on May 30 to June 1.
The US Navy said MTA Sama Sama (together) is designed to enhance the complexity and diversity of training opportunities, while strengthening the longstanding alliance between the US and the Republic of the Philippines.
It focuses on mutual security concerns that affect the Philippines including piracy and sea smuggling, maritime domain awareness and patrol, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness.
The first MTA Sama Sama was held last year after Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines was scrapped.
MTA Sama Sama 2017 was held in central Philippines with US sending an Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4), expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket (T-EPF-3), a P-8 Poseidon aircraft, along with American sailors and Marines.
The Philippine Navy utilized BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15), landing craft heavy BRP Agta (LC-290), an AW109 helicopter, and a BN-2 Islander aircraft for MTA Sama Sama 2017.
The US Navy said the exercise provides valuable opportunities for both navies to learn and operate together at sea and foster professional dialogue during subject matter expert exchanges.
Sources: https://www.facebook.com/hnfnl/posts/2145472492355854; https://www.facebook.com/DESRON7/photos/a.640430905986229.1073741826.549310018431652/2128674950495143; https://www.dvidshub.net/news/238371/us-and-philippine-naval-forces-enhance-cooperation-strengthen-alliance-during-maritime-training-activity-sama-sama