For nearly two months, US Navy ships and aircraft carriers have been training with British, Japanese, and Australian navies. The collaboration will develop interoperability and create a show of force to China.
Last month, the three countries teamed up for an immense training exercise in the Western Pacific. The exercise joined the US Navy’s USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson with the UK’s HMS Queen Elizabeth and Japan’s JS Ise.
A few weeks later, they joined Royal Australian Navy ships in the eastern Indian Ocean. Then in November, the navies moved into the South China Sea.
“All four participating nations have enduring interests in the security, stability, and well-being of the Indo-Pacific region,” Rear Adm. Dan Martin said in a statement. “We will continue to fine-tune our collective assets – speed, precision, lethality – in order to maximize our warfighting proficiency with our regional trusted partners.”
Task Force 71 spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Joe Keiley told the Navy Times that the November exercises trained the U.S. and Japanese navies to track submarines together.
“This was another opportunity to train and exercise together to improve interoperability and strengthen our capabilities. And [it] was not conducted in response to any specific event. Over several days, USS Milius and the P-8 were the only U.S. units that participated,” he wrote in an email.
The US Navy is Demonstrating a Show of Power
The demonstration will also show an increase in unity and power to China. According to Rear Adm. Jeffrey Jablon, the country has four ballistic missile submarines. It also has 50 diesel-electric attack submarines. And Jablon wants to face those threats “with a sense of urgency.”
“The exercise that we conducted with JMSDF demonstrated that we are fully capable of integration between our two nations,” he said. “I believe this sets us up for an increase in lethality and prepares us to face any future challenges our two countries may face together.”
However, despite the tensions with China, the training exercises are actually common for the United States.
“The U.S. Navy routinely conducts integrated training operations with its international partners to demonstrate our commitment and investment in the Indo-Pacific region. In addition to preserving rules-based international order in the global maritime commons, the U.S. Navy’s unwavering pledge to maritime security in the Indo-Pacific is critical to international trade and commerce.”
The drills show a concerted effort to develop interoperability among navies with carrier capabilities and is likely meant as a demonstration to China as it continues to increase its own naval power.
The drills are only parts of long deployments by ships of all three navies.