HMAS Sydney and JDS Murasame exercise off Tokyo Bay, Japan

Published on LEUT Grant McDuling (author), LSIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Topic(s): Exercise NICHI GOU TRIDENT, HMAS Sydney (IV)

Personnel from three navies work together in the operations room of HMAS Sydney to establish tactical systems interoperability between HMAS Sydney and the Japanese Maritime Defence Force destroyer JMSDF Murasame. (L-R) LCDR Jonathon Bannister (Royal Navy, currently serving with RAN aboard HMAS Sydney), Ensign Koya Yotsuikari, Lieutenant Junior Grade Tao Masahiro, Ensign Natsuki Kawasaki (Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force) and PO Combat Systems Supervisor Douglas Hamilton (RAN). (photo: Leading Seaman Peter Thompson)
Personnel from three navies work together in the operations room of HMAS Sydney to establish tactical systems interoperability between HMAS Sydney and the Japanese Maritime Defence Force destroyer JMSDF Murasame. (L-R) LCDR Jonathon Bannister (Royal Navy, currently serving with RAN aboard HMAS Sydney), Ensign Koya Yotsuikari, Lieutenant Junior Grade Tao Masahiro, Ensign Natsuki Kawasaki (Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force) and PO Combat Systems Supervisor Douglas Hamilton (RAN).

As part of its embed with the United States Navy’s 7th Fleet George Washington Carrier Strike Group, the Australian guided missile frigate HMAS Sydney (IV) is taking part in Exercise NICHI GOU TRIDENT, a bilateral exercise between the Royal Australian Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force that occurs on an opportunity basis..

According to HMAS Sydney’s Commanding Officer, Commander Karl Brinckmann, the primary focus of this exercise is tactical manoeuvring and operational communication drills.

“Our Officer’s of the Watch are conducting air defence and anti-submarine manoeuvres,” CMDR Brinckmann said.

“We have sent one of our bridge watch keeping officers, LEUT David Hodge, to the Japanese destroyer Murasame and in return, they have sent three of their junior Officers to Sydney. This provides both Navies with an opportunity to enhance skills through sharing tactical techniques.”

“By understanding our capabilities and limitations, and through sharing experiences, we can support our mutual desire to strengthen maritime security whilst honing our professional mariner skills.”

Two of the Japanese officers specialise in anti-submarine warfare, with the third being a communications officer.

Anti-submarine warfare trainee, Ensign Natsuki Kawasaki, said he was looking forward to his time onboard HMAS Sydney.

“I am very interested in learning how the Australian Navy operates,” he said. “I am also looking forward to trying out the food.”

HMAS Sydney is currently embedded in the United States Navy’s 7th Fleet George Washington Carrier Strike Group that is stationed at Yokosuka, Japan. The ship sailed from her home port of Fleet Base East, in Sydney, Australia on 22nd April, 2013 and will be away for about 5 months.

Lieutenant David Hodge boards a SH-60K Seahawk helicopter from JMSDF Murasame, a destroyer of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, as the helicopter waits to depart from HMAS Sydney to transfer liaison officers between the two warships.

Lieutenant David Hodge boards a SH-60K Seahawk helicopter from JMSDF Murasame, a destroyer of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, as the helicopter waits to depart from HMAS Sydney to transfer liaison officers between the two warships.