Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Asia Pacific naval forces pushed on regional deployments and exercises throughout September.
Notable examples include the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF)’s Indo Pacific Deployment (IPD) 2020, which commenced from 7 September and is expected to conclude on 17 October. JMSDF assets involved in IPD 2020 include the Izumo-class multipurpose destroyer/helicopter carrier JS Kaga and the Murasame-class destroyer JS Ikazuchi, an unnamed submarine, three naval helicopters, and over 600 personnel.
JMSDF & Indian Navy
Already more than halfway through IPD 2020, the JMSDF ships have completed several bilateral exercises with its regional counterparts. From 26-28 September, JS Kaga and JS Ikazuchi conducted tactical training with the Indian Navy under the Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX), which saw the latter deploy the Kolkata-class missile destroyer INS Chennai, Talwar-class frigate INS Tarkash, Deepak-class fleet tanker INS Deepak, as well as a Boeing P-8I maritime patrol and MiG-29K naval combat aircraft to conduct training manoeuvres in the sea and airspace off India’s western coast.
JMSDF & Sri Lankan Navy
The JMSDF also earlier exercised with the Sri Lankan and Australian navies separately. From 23-24 September, JS Kaga and JS Ikazuchi replenished at the Port of Colombo and performed navigation manoeuvres with the Sri Lankan Navy’s offshore patrol vessel SLNS Gajabahu in the vicinity of the port.
JMSDF & Royal Australian Navy
The JMSDF ships also conducted tactical training with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from 13-17 September in the South China Sea alongside the latter’s Hobart-class air warfare destroyer HMAS Hobart and fleet replenishment vessel HMAS Sirius.
Republic of Singapore Navy Exercises
Meanwhile, the RAN and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) completed the 25th iteration of Exercise SINGAROO held from 26-28 September, which saw the largest range of RSN assets deployed for this exercise series to date with four ships from three different classes – the Formidable-class stealth frigate RSS Tenacious, Independence-class littoral mission vessel (LMV) RSS Dauntless, Victory-class missile corvettes RSS Valiant and RSS Valour – and an unnamed submarine. The Republic of Singapore Air Force also participated with an F-50 maritime patrol aircraft and F-16 combat aircraft.
According to the Singapore Ministry of Defence, both navies conducted various serials including gunnery firing, manoeuvring drills, underway replenishment, air defence and communication exercises, and encounter exercises where unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) deployed to provide surveillance and threat identification.
by Jr Ng