Home Asia Pacific Australia, Japan, US stage joint drill in South China Sea

Australia, Japan, US stage joint drill in South China Sea

South China Sea trilateral training Australia US Japan
USS Momsen, HMAS Arunta, and JS Yuudachi (DD 103) transit the South China Sea during a trilateral training event. Photo: US Navy

Ships from the navies of Australia, Japan and the United States met up in the South China Sea for multinational training maneuvers which concluded March 15.

US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Momsen (DDG 92) was joined by JMSDF Murasame-class destroyer JS Yuudachi (DD 103), Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Arunta (FFH 151), and a US Navy P-8 from Patrol Squadron (VP) 26.

The US Navy said the training was designed to address common maritime security priorities and concerns, enhance interoperability and communication, and “promote navigational freedom in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The operations were designed to increase collective ability to maintain maritime security and readiness and respond to any regional contingency amongst allies.

“Momsen is proud to be a part of this event,” said Cmdr. Erik Roberts, the commanding officer of Momsen. “The US Navy is committed to strengthening interoperability with like-minded regional partners to ensure sustained security and stability of the seas within the Indo-Pacific region. This trilateral training reaffirms the strong bonds between our navies and underscores the importance of alliances and partnerships. We will continue to work to maximize our combined readiness; diligently training, performing well, incorporating lessons learned, and – above all – supporting one another.”

“Through more practical training, we enhance our tactical skills and cooperation between the JMSDF, the US, the Australian Navy and the Australian Air Forces,” said Cmdr. WAKUSHIMA Hidetaka, commanding officer of JS Yuudachi, “and we promote cooperative relationship of Japan-US-Australia naval and air forces in order to realize a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

Momsen is operating in the South China Sea as part of Japan-based Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the US Navy’s largest forward deployed Destroyer Squadron.

HMAS Arunta is currently undertaking Australia’s first regional presence deployment for 2022. During the deployment, which began in late February, Arunta has traversed regional shipping lanes, visited regional ports, participated in the multilateral exercise Milan 2022 and engaged in other cooperative activities and training engagements in the region.