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UK, US and Japan to hold anti-submarine warfare exercise in Western Pacific

The Royal Navy, U.S. Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force are scheduled to start anti-submarine warfare drills on March 14, for only the second trilateral exercise of its kind in the western Pacific.

UK US and Japan to hold anti submarine warfare exercise in Western Pacific HMS Montrose (Picture source: Mick Storey/MOD)

According to the U.S. Navy, the exercise will involve a U.S. Navy P-8A maritime patrol aircraft from the “War Eagles” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 16, the Royal Navy Type 23 (Duke-class) ASW frigate, HMS Montrose, the JMSDF Murasame-class destroyer JS Murasame , a P-1 JMDPF maritime patrol aircraft, and a JMSDF submarine.

“The Royal Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, and United States Navy all support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Captain Brian Erickson, the commander of Task Force Seven Two (CFT 72). “Exercises like this demonstrate our nation’s resolve in the region, while improving interoperability, maintaining readiness, and learning best practices from one another.”

The first trilateral ASW exercise involving the three navies was held in December 2018 that saw the participation of the JMSDF helicopter destroyer JS Izumo, the Royal Type 23 frigate, HMS Argyll, and a U.S. Navy submarine, as well as a P-8A maritime patrol aircraft.
Notably, the JS Izumo, Japan’s premium ASW surface platform, is expected to be converted into an aircraft carrier capable of launching the F-35B—the U.S. Marine Corps variant of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter capable of vertical or short takeoffs and vertical landings (STOVL) without requiring a catapult launcher—from its flight deck.

“HMS Montrose has been operating in the Pacific since December 2018, and our upcoming exercise with our allies in the [U.S. Navy] and JMSDF will be one of the highlights of our time in this important region,” noted Commander Conor O’Neill, the HMS Montrose commanding officer. “The Royal Navy has a long history of cooperation with both Japan and the United States, and we will all benefit a great deal from training together.”

The chiefs of the British, U.S., and Japanese navies signed a trilateral cooperation agreement in 2016.