JMSDF hosts multinational fleet review

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) hosted the latest iteration of its international fleet review (IFR) in the waters of Sagami Bay south of Tokyo on 6 November, an event which also commemorated the 70th anniversary of the service’s founding.

Twenty JMSDF assets, including surface combatants and submarines, as well as 18 vessels from Australia, India, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States and other countries took part in the review.

Some of the main activities of the IFR included a parade in the port city of Yokosuka on 3 November where JMSDF personnel marched together with participating navies, and the review of the participating fleet in a sail-past by Japan Prime Minister Kishida Fumio aboard the JMSDF’s Izumo-class multi-purpose destroyer JS Izumo.

Notable participants included the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), which dispatched its key assets such as the Hobart-class air warfare destroyer HMAS Hobart, the Anzac-class frigate HMAS Arunta, Collins-class diesel-electric submarine HMAS Farncomb, as well as the Supply-class replenishment vessel HMAS Stalwart.

In a sign of a thawing relationship between South Korea and Japan, the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) participated with its fast combat support ship ROKS Soyang. The RoKN last engaged in multinational naval fleet activities with the JMSDF in 2015, with tensions between the two countries over a range of bilateral issues as preventing further exchanges since.

Meanwhile, other leading regional navies such as the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) also sent their finest, with the Southeast Asian country showcasing its Formidable-class frigate RSS Formidable.

An aerial fly-past comprising 33 fixed and rotary wing aircraft also flew overhead, including the indigenously developed Kawasaki P-1 multirole patrol aircraft while the JMSDF’s ShinMaywa US-2 search-and-rescue amphibian demonstrated its ability to remain aloft at slow and physics-defying speeds and short waterborne take-offs thanks to its boundary layer control technology.

“We [must be] ready for those who violate rules and who would use force to trample on the peace and security of other nations,” noted Kishida during his post-review speech, noting that his government will formulate a new national security strategy by the end of 2022 aimed at boosting Japan’s self-defence capabilities.

by Jr Ng