PHILIPPINE SEA (Dec. 18, 2020) – Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) joined the French Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) for integrated exercises in the Philippine Sea throughout the week.
Participants included John S. McCain, the French Navy’s Rubis-class nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) Emeraude, Loire-class support and assistance vessel (BSAM type) Seine, and Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer JS Hyūga. The exercises focused on integrated anti-submarine warfare tactics between the three navies, strengthening cooperative efforts to support maritime security in the Indo-Pacific.
“Anti-submarine warfare is a cornerstone in surface Navy operations,” said Lt. Ryan Mati, weapons officer aboard John S. McCain. “This exercise will not only allow us to continue strengthening our warfighting readiness with a long-standing ally, it’ll also impart a unique experience for the crew. To be able to operate with a partner nation’s submarine is a rare opportunity which will further enhance our tactical mindset and allow us to execute some of the best training in this warfare area.”
Emeraude and Seine are on deployment in the Western Pacific, and these integrated exercises contribute to strengthen interoperability and improve cooperation.
“Agile and advanced anti-submarine capabilities utilizing shipboard aircraft are an essential part of our maritime operations,” said Capt. Hamasaki Shingo, commander of Escort Division 3. “It is a great honor for the JMSDF to have the opportunity to conduct an exercise with FS Emeraude for the first time. This trilateral exercise with the United States Navy and the French Navy not only develops tactical skills but also contributes to a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ based on the rule of law and freedom of navigation. We, the JMSDF, will continue to pursue the opportunities to conduct an exercise with our partner navies.”
In the last two months, John S. McCain conducted a number of multinational exercises with allied nations to include operations with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the South China Sea and this year’s iteration of Malabar, alongside the RAN, Indian Navy, and JMSDF.
“The willingness of both the U.S. Navy and JMSDF to conduct anti-surface and anti-submarine exercises with us is a positive example of the cooperative relationship our navies enjoy.” said the commanding officer of FS SSN Emeraude.
Although one of the U.S.’s long-standing allies, it is a rare opportunity for U.S. Navy maritime forces to conduct operations with their French Navy counterparts in the 7th Fleet area of operations.
“This exercise demonstrates the breadth, depth and value of our network of allies and partners,” said Cmdr. Ryan T. Easterday, commanding officer of John S. McCain. “This exercise with the JMSDF and French Navy not only enhances the warfighting proficiency of our crews and improves the interoperability of our three nations’ navies, but through continued cooperation between our nations, it helps reinforce the foundation for regional security and stability, and supports a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
John S. McCain is assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interest in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet. 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.