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French Navy frigate Vendemiaire heads to Philippines for its 1st participation in Exercise Balikatan.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the French MFA on April 22, 2024, the Floreal class frigate Vendemiaire has arrived in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, to participate in the Balikatan exercises alongside various partners. It marks the first occasion that France will participate in these exercises.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 French Floreal class frigate Vendemiaire. (Picture source: French MFA)

This event is part of a broader engagement where multiple nations, including the Philippines, the United States, and Australia, are participating in a series of military drills designed to enhance cooperative defense capabilities and readiness.

The Balikatan exercises, which are a cornerstone of the U.S.-Philippines military collaboration, have grown to become one of the largest and most comprehensive training operations in the region.

This year's exercises emphasize not only traditional military drills but also focus on maritime security, amphibious operations, counter-terrorism, and humanitarian assistance, reflecting the evolving security landscape in the Indo-Pacific region.

The inclusion of France in these exercises underscores a growing interest among European nations to engage more actively in Asian security affairs, especially given the strategic maritime routes and geopolitical tensions in areas close to Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Vendemiaire's deployment

This year, the frigate embarked on a journey across Southeast Asia and the Pacific, reflecting France's strategic maritime interests in these regions. The Vendémiaire started its voyage in Thailand in April 2024 as part of its mission to enhance regional partnerships, particularly with Indo-Pacific Maritime Coordination Center (IPMCC) affiliates​​.

Prior to Thailand, the frigate made stops in Timor-Leste and Indonesia, focusing on strengthening ties and cooperative initiatives across Southeast Asia. The mission's itinerary included planned visits to Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, and Australia​.

In 2022, the Vendémiaire also visited Singapore and Manila. The stop in Singapore was part of a routine port call​, while the visit to Manila was aimed at engaging in humanitarian and disaster relief preparedness operations with the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard​​.

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