U.S. and Japanese Ships Hold Anti-Submarine Warfare Drills in the South China Sea

U.S. and Japanese Ships Hold Anti-Submarine Warfare Drills in the South China Sea

Japanese and U.S. fleets met this week for a first-ever anti-submarine warfare exercise in the South China Sea, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force said today.

Helicopter destroyer JS Kaga (DDH-184) and destroyer JS Murasame (DD101) with their embarked SH-60J helicopters, an unnamed Oyashio-class submarine and a P-1 Maritime Patrol aircraft conducted an anti-submarine warfare exercise in the South China Sea with U.S. Navy destroyer USS Milius (DDG-69) and a U.S. Navy P-8A maritime patrol aircraft on Tuesday.

This is the first time a JMSDF submarine conducted an anti-submarine warfare exercise with the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea. Both Kaga and Murasame had conducted an exercise in the South China Sea with Milius last week and subsequently made a port call in Subic, the Philippines over the weekend. Upon departure from Subic, the ships conducted an exercise in the South China Sea with Philippine Navy frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

Japan’s Indo-Pacific Deployment 2021 (IPD21) task group left in late August and is scheduled to return to Japan by Nov. 25. The task group also includes destroyer JS Shiranui (DD 120), but Shiranui, like the Oyashio-class submarine, has largely been operating separately from Kaga and Murasame and only joining the other two ships on specific exercises.

The JMSDF issued two news releases on exercises soon taking place in Japan. The first release, issued on Nov. 9, announced that the JMSDF will carry out both an in-house mine warfare exercise and a bilateral mine warfare exercise with the U.S. Navy from Nov. 18 through 28 in the Hyuga Nada Sea off Kyushu. The bilateral exercises will involve 17 JMSDF minesweepers, one minesweeper tender and two JMSDF MCH-101 Mine Counter Measure (MCM) helicopters, while the U.S. Navy will deploy 2 MCM ships along with two MH-53E helicopters.