Ships from the French, Australian, US and Japanese navies got underway from Sasebo, Japan, on May 11 for the start of the major maneuver Jeanne D’Arc 21.
The exercise will see the participation of helicopter carriers from France and Japan, a landing platform dock ship from the US and a range of other frigates and destroyers.
This exercise is part of a broader, same-named deployment undertaken by the French amphibious task group composed of helicopter carrier FS Tonnerre and frigate Surcouf.
The duo started their Jeanne D’Arc 2021 mission in February this year and are currently in the final stages of the mission prior to returning home to France in July.
The exercise off Japan will bring together service members from each nation’s military in a combined effort to enhance interoperability over land and at sea.
Jeanne D’Arc 21 will also mark the first time American and French troops will simultaneously train with their Japanese counterparts on Japanese land. An estimated 100 soldiers from Japan will be joined by troops from the French Army and US Marine Corps for urban warfare and amphibious operation exercises.
The field training portion of the exercise begins at Kirishima maneuver area with a combat engineer subject matter expertise exchange, casualty evacuation and combat service support training, and simulated fire support coordination training.
“This exercise, by bringing together our air, land, and maritime forces to increase our ability to jointly respond to crises across the range of military operations, is yet another demonstration of our rapidly growing constellation of partners, all united by the common goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Lt Col Jeremy Nelson, 3D Marine Logistics Group. “It is commonly said that we train alongside our partners and allies in peace to be ready to fight alongside them in war, and exercises like ARC-21 are the best example of this.”
At sea, ships from each nation will plan and prepare amphibious landings and air assaults while also conducting formation maneuvers, air defense exercises and communication drills alongside Japan Maritime Self-Defense force destroyers, an Osumi-Class landing ship and two guided-missile patrol boats.
The culminating events are scheduled to include surveillance and insertion of forces via JSDF CH-47 Chinook helicopters from French Mistral-class amphibious assault ship Tonnerre (L9014), followed by a helicopter-borne assault via US Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys from USS New Orleans. Once all forces are together on the ground they will begin an assault on a shared objective.