Naval forces from Australia, Japan, the UK, and the US met up in the eastern Indian Ocean for the Maritime Partnership exercise (MPX) 2021 from October 15 to 18.
During the multinational exercise, four Indo-Pacific navies, to include the Royal British Navy (RN), Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), and US Navy engaged in enhanced planning, advanced maritime communication operations, anti-submarine warfare operations, air warfare operations, live-fire gunnery events, replenishments-at-sea, cross-deck flight operations, and maritime interdiction operations.
“MPX is high-end, multi-domain maritime training at its finest,” said Rear Adm. Dan Martin, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1. “All four participating nations have enduring interests in the security, stability, and well-being of the Indo-Pacific region. We will continue to fine-tune our collective assets – speed, precision, lethality – in order to maximize our warfighting proficiency with our regional trusted partners.”
CSG 1 is on a scheduled deployment in the US 7th Fleet area of operations. This marks the first time that a CSG is deployed in the 7th Fleet area of operations with the Air Wing of the Future (AWOTF), including the first operational deployment for both the F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and Navy CMV-22B Osprey.
CSG 1 recently conducted a variety of bilateral exercises with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and tri-carrier operations with the Royal Navy’s HSM Queen Elizabeth (R08) and US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).
“Multilateral and bilateral exercises demonstrate our steadfast pledge to our partners and our collective desire to maintain a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,” said Capt. P. Scott Miller, commanding officer, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). “The closer we train together, the more quickly and easily we can come together when our combined forces are needed.”
Royal British Navy participants included Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 21, consisting of HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Defender, HMS Kent, HMS Richmond, RFA Tidespring, RFA Fort Victoria, and USS The Sullivans.
JMSDF participants included Izumo-class multipurpose operation destroyer JS Kaga (DDH 184), Murasame-class destroyers JS Murasame (DD 101).
US Navy participants included Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, consisting of aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Carrier Air Wing 2, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106), and Fleet Replenishment Oiler Henry J. Kaiser-class USNS Yukon.
Participating from the Royal Australian Navy are Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155) and HMAS Sirius (O 266).
“Our ongoing cooperation with Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States further strengthens our professional mariner relationships and enhance our interoperability,” said Cmdr. Antony Pisani, commanding officer HMAS Ballarat. “Both Ballarat and Sirius have spent significant time deployed to the region this year and Maritime Partnership Exercise adds to the list of excellent navy-to-navy activities we’ve enjoyed with the United States.”
Following MPX 2021, HMS Queen Elizabeth is poised to take part in the most demanding exercise ever between the UK and India on the return leg of its maiden deployment to Asia Pacific.