Trilateral passage bolsters ties

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Tanalee Smith (author), POIS Tom Gibson (photographer), LSIS Ernesto Sanchez (photographer), LSIS Kieren Whiteley (photographer)

Topic(s): Exercises, HMAS Canberra (L02), HMAS Arunta (F151), HMAS Stuart (F153), HMAS Sirius (A266), HMAS Hobart (D39)

Ships from the Royal Australian Navy, United States Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force sail in company through the Philippine Sea as aircraft from United States Carrier Airwing 5 fly above during the Regional Presence Deployment 2020. (photo: LSIS Ernesto Sanchez)
Ships from the Royal Australian Navy, United States Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force sail in company through the Philippine Sea as aircraft from United States Carrier Airwing 5 fly above during the Regional Presence Deployment 2020.

Australia, Japan and the United States have conducted a trilateral passage in the Philippine Sea en route to participate in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) in Hawaii.

The Australian Defence Force Joint Task Group was joined in the Philippine Sea by the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, which includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam and guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin, and Japan’s Akizuki Class destroyer JS Teruzuki.

The deployment demonstrates Australia’s enduring commitment to enhancing security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, and increasing the capability and interoperability of the Australian Defence Force.

The three days of activities included replenishments at sea, aviation operations, maritime manoeuvres and communications drills.

Commander of the Australian Joint Task Group, Commodore Michael Harris, said the opportunity to work alongside Japan and the United States was invaluable.

“The combined activities between our navies demonstrates a high degree of interoperability and capability between Australia, Japan and the United States,” Commodore Harris said.

Officers and sailors on the upper decks of HMAS Canberra admired the maritime and aerial display as the ships separated.

“We’re very lucky to be out here, working as a united task group,” Petty Officer physical training instructor Shane Murphy said.

“I’m proud to be part of it.”

Captain Caldwell, Commanding Officer USS Antietam, said the passage demonstrated shared commitment to regional stability.

“The relationships we’ve developed enable us to meet at sea and immediately operate at an advanced level. This highlights the enduring nature of our alliances with Japan and Australia,” Captain Caldwell said.

Captain Sakano Yusuke, Commander of Japan’s Escort Division 4, said strengthening cooperation with the US Navy and Royal Australian Navy was vitally important for Japan and contributed to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

“The experience in this exercise will give us tactical and operational advantages and make our friendships stronger, in addition to our regular joint exercises with both like-minded navies,” Captain Sakano said.

HMA Ships Canberra, Hobart, Stuart, Arunta and Sirius left Darwin on July 5 to begin a regional deployment to South East Asia and Hawaii.

Imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20202336.

HMA Ships Canberra and Sirius prepare to conduct a replenishment in the Philippine Sea during the Regional Presence Deployment 2020.

HMA Ships Canberra and Sirius prepare to conduct a replenishment in the Philippine Sea during the Regional Presence Deployment 2020.