Asia Defense

US Conducts Trilateral Naval Drill With Japan, Australia After Indonesia Exercise

The three navies carry out a passing exercise after participating in Exercise Komodo.

US Conducts Trilateral Naval Drill With Japan, Australia After Indonesia Exercise

USS Stockdale sits in anchor in preparation for Exercise Komodo 2016.

Credit: U.S. Pacific Fleet Photo

A U.S. destroyer conducted a drill with Japanese and Australian vessels after the ships had participated in a multilateral exercise in Indonesia, the U.S. navy said Tuesday.

As I indicated in a previous piece, the United States, Japan, and Australia were among the countries participating in this year’s Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo (MNEK 2016), the second iteration of drills that Indonesia began hosting back in 2014 (See: “Indonesia’s Naval Power in the Spotlight with Exercise, Fleet Review and Symposium”).

Following Exercise Komodo, the guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) conducted a trilateral passing exercise with ships from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the Java Sea from April 17 to April 19, according to a statement released by the U.S. Navy’s Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific (COMLOG WESTPAC), the Seventh Fleet’s principal logistics agent and bilateral exercise coordinator for Southeast Asia.

The trilateral passing exercise (PASSEX), which was conducted with the Australian frigate HMAS Anzac (FF 150) and Japanese helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182), took place during a transit from Padang, Indonesia to Singapore. The vessels conducted several evolutions during that transit, including helicopter cross desk landings and ship maneuvers. There was also an at-sea personnel exchange to improve working relationships between the three navies.

The exercise was said to be designed to enhance maritime interoperability and deepen mutual understanding between Washington and its two Asian treaty allies.

“The exercise was an excellent learning experience,” said Cmdr. Sean Grunwell, commanding officer of Stockdale. “You can’t simulate the challenges of working with units you don’t operate with on a regular basis, and it has provided invaluable training for everyone involved.”

In addition to the Stockdale, the United States had also sent other assets and personnel to MNEK 2016 as well, including a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, which has received significant attention over the past few years due to its growing involvement in the South China Sea (See: “US Sends Destroyer, Spy Plane to Indonesia Naval Exercise”).