Chinese Navy Ship Operating Off of Australia, Canberra Says

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) intelligence ship is currently operating off the north-west shelf of Australia, the Australian Department of Defence said Friday. Australia’s DoD identified the vessel as China’s Dongdiao-class auxiliary intelligence ship Haiwangxing (792) and released imagery and video of the ship. A graphic of Haiwangxing’s voyage showed […]

People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Intelligence Collection Vessel Haiwangxing operating off the north-west shelf of Australia. Australian Department of Defence Photo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) intelligence ship is currently operating off the north-west shelf of Australia, the Australian Department of Defence said Friday.

Australia’s DoD identified the vessel as China’s Dongdiao-class auxiliary intelligence ship Haiwangxing (792) and released imagery and video of the ship.

A graphic of Haiwangxing’s voyage showed the ship crossed Australia’s exclusive economic zone on the morning of May 6. On Sunday, it was approximately 70 nautical miles off the Harold E. Holt Communications Station, in Exmouth, Western Australia, while a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft monitored the ship.

Harold E. Holt Communications Station provides Very Low Frequency (VLF) communication transmission services for Australian, the United States and Australian-allied submarines.

The Chinese ship continued sailing southwards, and on Monday, it was 150 nautical miles off Exmouth while an RAAF P-8 tracked the intelligence ship. At the same time, HMAS Perth (FFH157) sailed out from port to monitor Haiwangxing but subsequently turned back because the Chinese ship changed its sailing direction on Tuesday morning. Haiwangxing turned north, sailing at a speed of six knots, 125 nautical miles from Exmouth. An RAAF P-8 and an Australian Border Force (ABF) Dash-8 maritime surveillance aircraft monitored the ship.

On Wednesday, Haiwangxing sailed northeast at 12 knots, with the ship approaching as close as 50 nautical miles of the of Harold E. Holt Communication Station, while an RAAF P-8, ABF Dash-8 and ABF patrol vessel ABFC Cape Sorell monitored. Haiwangxing was last spotted on Friday at 6 a.m. local time, approximately 250 nautical miles northwest of Broome Western Australia. An RAAF P-8 and a Maritime Border Command Dash-8 maritime surveillance aircraft monitored the ship on Thursday.

“Australia respects the right of all states to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters and airspace, just as we expect others to respect our right to do the same. Defence will continue to monitor the ship’s operation in our maritime approaches,” the Australian DoD said in the news release.

Movements of PLAN Dongdiao AGI-792 near Australia May 8-13 2022. Australian Department of Defence Photo

Meanwhile, over in the Philippine Sea, the PLAN’s CNS Liaoning (16) carrier strike group continues flight operations, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s daily news releases this week. Liaoning; Type 055 destroyer CNS Nanchang (101); Type 052D destroyers CNS Xining (117), CNS Urumqi (118) and CNS Chengdu (120); Type 052C destroyer CNS Zhengzhou (151); Type 054A frigate CNS Xiangtan (531); and Type 901 fast combat support ship CNS Hulunhu (901) sailed into the Pacific Ocean via the Miyako Strait earlier this month.

The carrier and ships in its CSG performed a series of flight operations four days in a row this week. On 9 a.m. Sunday local time, Liaoning, the two Type 052D destroyers and Hulunhu were sighted 160 kilometers south of Ishigaki Island conducting flight operations with its embarked J-15 fighter aircraft and Z-18 helicopters from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to news releases from Japan’s Joint Staff Office.

On Monday, the same ships were seen at 10 a.m. sailing 200 kilometers south of Ishigaki Island, performing flight operations from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Tuesday at 9 a.m., the group was sailing 310 kilometers south of Ishigaki Island, performing flight operations from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Wednesday at 9 a.m., Liaoning and two Type 052D destroyers were seen 160 kilometers south of Ishigaki Island, again performing flight operations from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183) has tracked the Liaoning carrier strike group since May 2. Japanese destroyer JS Suzutsuki (DD-117) took over the task of tracking the Liaoning carrier group on Tuesday.

A People’s Liberation Army Navy J-15 carrier fighter takes off from Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) on May 7, 2022. Japanese MoD Photo

Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) fighter aircraft scrambled each day in response to the J-15 launches, according to the news release. In a Tuesday press conference, Japan Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the Chinese carried out a total of 100 sorties with its J-15s and Z-18s from Liaoning between May 3 and May 8.

While the activities of the PLAN carrier group were likely aimed at improving its aircraft carriers’ operational capabilities and its ability to carry out operations away from home, Kishi said Japan is concerned about the operations given that they were happening close to the Ryuku Islands and Taiwan. The Japanese Ministry of Defense will continue to monitor such activities, he said.

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is also operating in the Philippine Sea. Earlier this week, the CSG conducted deterrence missions in the Philippine Sea by performing long-range maritime strike with refueling help from Pacific Air Forces KC-135 Stratotankers, according to a U.S. 7th Fleet news release issued Friday.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to the “Tophatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14, prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in the Philippine Sea on May 12, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), destroyers USS Spruance (DDG-111) and USS Dewey (DDG-105), and cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-53) also performed multi-domain training to defend the carrier, according to the news release.

“Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is a powerful presence in the Philippine Sea that serves as a deterrent to aggressive or malign actors and supports a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Rear Adm. J.T. Anderson, the commander of carrier strike group Three, said in the release. “There is no better way to strengthen our combat-credible capabilities than to work alongside other joint forces to demonstrate our commitment to sovereignty, the region, and a rules-based international order.”

Chinese Carrier Strike Group Continues Drills Near Japan

China’s aircraft carrier CNS Liaoning (16) has been launching fighters near Japan since last week all the while being shadowed by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183), according to Japanese forces.Liaoning, together with the Type 055 destroyer CNS Nanchang (101), Type 052D destroyers CNS Xining (117), CNS Urumqi (118) and […]

A People’s Liberation Army Navy J-15 carrier fighter takes off from Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) on May 7, 2022. Japanese MoD Photo

China’s aircraft carrier CNS Liaoning (16) has been launching fighters near Japan since last week all the while being shadowed by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183), according to Japanese forces.Liaoning, together with the Type 055 destroyer CNS Nanchang (101), Type 052D destroyers CNS Xining (117), CNS Urumqi (118) and CNS Chengdu (120), Type 052C destroyer CNS Zhengzhou (151), Type 054A frigate CNS Xiangtan (531) and Type 901 fast combat support ship CNS Hulunhu (901), sailed into the Pacific Ocean via the Miyako Strait on May 2.

Chinese officials said the Liaoning Carrier Strike Group was training in the western Pacific Ocean and that it was a routine training event organized by the Chinese navy, according to its annual plan and in line with relevant international law and international practice, and not targeting any party.

The JSO has issued daily releases on the PLAN carrier group activities since May 4. The Japanese say Liaoning, along with destroyers Xining, Urumqi, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, frigate Xiangtan and combat support ship Hulunhu were sighted at noon on May 3 sailing around 160 km southwest of Oki Daito island, and flight operations of embarked J-15 fighters and Z-18 helicopters had been carried out from noon until 6 p.m. Liaoning together with destroyers Nanchang, Xining, Urumqi and Chengdu were then seen at noon on May 4 sailing around 230km Southwest of Okinawa. Flight operations were carried out from noon until 6 p.m. that day.

On May 5, Liaoning sailed with destroyers Nanchang, Xining, Urumqi and Chengdu and combat support ship Hulunhu 320 km southeast of Miyako Island, and flight operations were conducted from 2-8 p.m.

Chinese Carrier Strike Group Operations on May 7, 2022. Japanese MoD Image

The six ships sailed 170 km south of Ishigaki Island at 9 a.m May 6 with flight operations from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Saturday, Liaoning was sighted with two of the Type 052D destroyers and Hulunhu 150km south of Ishigaki Island at 9 a.m. with flight operations carried out from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) fighter aircraft scrambled in response to the launches of the J-15s.

In December last year, the Liaoning, along with other PLAN ships, conducted flight operations in the vicinities of Kita Daito and Oki Daito islands in the Pacific Ocean.

While these activities are permissible under international norms, the Japanese government have raised concerns about the proximity of the activities in Pacific to Japan, as well as North Korea’s launch of ballistic missiles and the Russian and Chinese separate and joint naval and air activities near the country.

The Japanese government plans to increase its military capabilities as part of its response to increased concerns.

The Russian Pacific Fleet announced //when?// that the corvette RFS Gremyashchy (337) carried out a successful firing of the Otvet anti-submarine missile system at an underwater training target in the Sea of Japan. The Russians deployed 15 other ships to support the firing.

A People’s Liberation Army Navy J-15 carrier fighter takes off from Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) during a December 2021 deployment. PLAN Photo

Moscow has been holding a number of live firing from the Sea of Japan in recent months, the last being on April 14 where submarines RFS Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (B-274) and RFS Volkhov 3M14K Calibre (SS-N-30A) cruise missiles (B-603)

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and U.S Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held a meeting at the Pentagon on May 4 where both defense chiefs reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and pledged to promote the norms, values, and institutions that underpin the rules-based international order, according to a statement released by the Japan Defense Ministry.

Austin and Kishi discussed China’s behavior in the Indo-Pacific region and its coercive actions in the East and South China Seas. They both affirmed that that any change to the status quo by force in the Indo-Pacific region cannot be condoned, and that both countries would continue to strengthen cooperation to deter and, if necessary, respond to such actions.

Austin affirmed that the Senkaku Islands are under the administration of Japan, and that Article V of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands. Austin also expressed his opposition to any unilateral attempts to undermine the administration of Japan. Both defense chiefs also reiterated the importance of peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.

Along with condemning Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine, both leaders stated that the U.S and Japan will work together to support Ukraine as much as possible. Austin and Kishi agreed that North Korea’s repeated missile launches and nuclear development are a serious threat against peace and stability of the region and the international community, and that such actions cannot be tolerated. Both pledged to advance close bilateral and trilateral cooperation among Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea in response to North Korean provocations.

Chinese Carrier Liaoning Strike Group Steaming Near Japan, Says MoD

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) dispatched an eight-ship carrier group, led by the carrier CNS Liaoning (16) and accompanied by five destroyers, a frigate and a replenishment ship, into the Pacific Ocean via transit of the Miyako Strait Monday, marking the first time since December 2021 that the carrier has operated in the area. […]

Chinese ships operate off the coast of Japan on May 2, 2022. Japanese MoD Images

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) dispatched an eight-ship carrier group, led by the carrier CNS Liaoning (16) and accompanied by five destroyers, a frigate and a replenishment ship, into the Pacific Ocean via transit of the Miyako Strait Monday, marking the first time since December 2021 that the carrier has operated in the area.

The Joint Staff Office (JSO) of the Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF) issued a release Monday on the group’s passage along with photographs of the ships in the group, identifying them by class and pennant number.

Along with Liaoning, the ships in the group are the Type 055 destroyer CNS Nanchang (101), Type 052D destroyers CNS Xining (117), CNS Urumqi (118) and CNS Chengdu (120), Type 052C destroyer CNS Zhengzhou (151), Type 054A frigate CNS Xiangtan (531) and Type 901 fast combat support ship CNS Hulunhu (901).

Liaoning together with Nanchang, Xining, Urumqi, Chengdu and Hulunhu were sighted sailing south in an area 350km west on the uninhabited Danjo Islands in the East China Sea around midnight Sunday, according to the Joint Staff Office’s release. At 6 p.m. Sunday, Xiangtan was sighted sailing eastward in an area 480km northwest of Okinawa. On Monday, Zhengzhou was sighted traveling south, 160km north of Taisho Island. The PLAN ships subsequently sailed south together through the Miyako Strait.

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183) together with JMSDF P-1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 4, based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Honshu, and P-3C Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 5, based out of Naha Air Base, Okinawa, conducted monitoring of the PLAN ships, according to the release. Liaoning conducted helicopter operations while in the East China Sea.

Chinese naval spokesperson Gao Xiucheng said the Liaoning group is conducting training in the western Pacific Ocean and that it was a routine training organized by the Chinese navy, according to its annual plan and in line with relevant international law and international practice, China’s Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday.In December last year, Liaoning along with other PLAN ships conducted flight operations in the vicinities of Kita Daito and Oki Daito islands in the Pacific Ocean. Japan now plans to have a mobile radar station based on Kita Daito Island and is considering moving towards permanent radar stations on the Daito Islands to monitor foreign naval activities and transits in the area.

A People’s Liberation Army Navy J-15 carrier fighter takes off from Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) during a December 2021 deployment. PLAN Photo

Littoral Combat Ship USS Jackson (LCS-6) is now in Singapore at Changi Naval Base, arriving on Tuesday to carry out a planned maintenance availability (PMAV) period while in Singapore, according to a 7th Fleet release

“Having Jackson once again using Changi Naval Base as the site for maintenance is a significant milestone and gives operational commanders increased adaptability for maintaining and operating ships,” said Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force 76 in the release. “We are thankful for our defense relationship with the Republic of Singapore and their willingness to host our ships as we strive toward a common goal of ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Spey (P234) arrived in Singapore Friday at Sembawang Naval Installation to join sister ship HMS Tamar (P233). Both Royal Navy vessels are on a five-year deployment to the Indo-Pacific region as part of an overall UK policy to strengthen its presence in the region.

Russian, Chinese Ships Steaming Near Japan as Carrier Lincoln Operates Near Korea

KULA LUMPUR – Three Russian warships and three Russian civilian vessels transited the Tsushima Straits on Tuesday, while a Chinese surveillance ship sailed from the East China Sea into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, according to releases posted on Wednesday by the Joint Staff Office of the Japan Self-Defense Force. The three Russian Navy ships […]

An E-2D Advanced Hawkeye landing aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). US Navy Photo

KULA LUMPUR – Three Russian warships and three Russian civilian vessels transited the Tsushima Straits on Tuesday, while a Chinese surveillance ship sailed from the East China Sea into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, according to releases posted on Wednesday by the Joint Staff Office of the Japan Self-Defense Force.

The three Russian Navy ships are destroyer RFS Admiral Panteleyev (548), an Altay-class replenishment ship and rescue tug SB-408. The JSDF identified the civilian ships as pipe-laying ship Akademik Cherskiy, offshore supply ship Ivan Sidorenko and offshore supply ship Ostap Sheremeta. All three Russian civilian ships are sanctioned by the United States over to their involvement in the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Specially Designated Foreign Nationals (SDN) list. Work on the pipeline had been completed in September last year and it’s likely the civilian ships are now in the Pacific for new assignments by their owners.

The Russian ships were sighted 80 kilometers west of the Danjo Islands at 9 a.m. on Tuesday by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and subsequently went north through the Tsushima Strait and sailed toward the Sea of Japan, according to the news release. The JSDF added that Admiral Panteleyev had previously been sighted on March 24 going southwest through the Tsushima Strait. P-1 maritime patrol aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 4 based at Naval Air Station Atsugi and fast attack craft JS Shirataka (PG-829) monitored the Russian ships.

In a second news release, the JSO said People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Dongdiao-class surveillance ship 795 had been sighted traveling southeast in the sea, 160 kilometers northwest of Amami Oshima island, Kagoshima Prefecture and subsequently sailed east between Amami Oshima and Yokoate island before traveling into the Pacific Ocean. P-1 maritime patrol aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 1 based at Kanoya Air Field and the replenishment ship JS Hamana (AOE-424) monitored the PLAN ship, according to the release.

Meanwhile, U.S. aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) is now operating in the Philippine Sea after finishing exercises with all three arms of the JSDF that began on April 8. Abraham Lincoln, cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-52) and destroyer USS Spruance (DDG-111), with JMSDF destroyers JS Inazuma (DD-105) and JS Kongo (DDG-173), conducted joint drills ranging from air warfare exercises to maritime communication operations, according to a U.S. 7th Fleet news release issued Monday.

Chinese Dongdiao surveillance ship (AGI) 794 path through the Tsushima Strait on April 11, 2022. Japanese MoD Images

“Our enduring commitments to our relationships in the Indo-Pacific region continue to grow and blossom through integrated and bilateral at-sea exercises including the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force,” Rear Adm. J. T. Anderson, the commander of Carrier Strike Group 3, said in the release. “These exercises demonstrate our collective combat-credible capabilities while safeguarding our shared interests and values.”

During the exercise, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force CH-47s and troops from the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) operated off Abraham Lincoln, while a JGSDF AH-64 helicopter conducted deck landing operations on Inazuma.

As the security environment surrounding Japan becomes even more severe, Japan and the United States are always working closely together to ensure the defense of Japan and the peace and security of the region,” Japan Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said of the exercises during his regularly scheduled press conference on Tuesday. “Through this training, we believe that Japan and the United States have always been fully prepared to prevent unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the region and destabilize it by force.”

Landing platform dock USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) is also operating in the Philippine Sea to perform routine operations, according to a Pentagon news release. Meanwhile, expeditionary support base USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5) is on a scheduled visit to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and submarine USS Alexandria (SSN-757) arrived at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka on Monday for a scheduled port visit.

Japan Monitoring Russian and Chinese Military Activity in Sea of Japan, Defense Minister Says

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Japan is monitoring the increased Russian and Chinese military activity around its country, the Japanese defense minister said Friday. The Japanese Ministry of Defense and Japanese Self-Defense Force will handle all measures taken against Japanese territory, territorial waters and airspace in accordance with international law and the JSDF law, said Defense […]

Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Arthur Renteria, from Carson, California, stands starboard life buoy watch on the fantail aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma (DD 105) sails in formation during a U.S.-Japan bilateral exercise in the Sea of Japan on April 12, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Japan is monitoring the increased Russian and Chinese military activity around its country, the Japanese defense minister said Friday.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense and Japanese Self-Defense Force will handle all measures taken against Japanese territory, territorial waters and airspace in accordance with international law and the JSDF law, said Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.

Kishi spoke during the regularly held post-Cabinet press conference at the Japanese Ministry of Defense, where he said the Japan Air Self-Defense Force scrambled against foreign aircraft 1,004 times in 2021, a record high since 2016, when it carried out 1,168 scrambles.

Out of last year’s figures, 722 of them involved Chinese aircraft, while 266 involved Russian aircraft. Kishi did not disclose which other countries made up the balance, but said the number of scrambles against Chinese aircraft had increased by 260 in comparison with the 2020 figures, while scrambles against Russia were about the same, with 258 in 2020.

The increasing number of China’s activities, coupled with the lack of transparency regarding its defense policy and military, has become a strong concern for the security of the region, including Japan and the international community, Kishi said.

Kishi told the media that he would not make a definitive statement on Russia’s intentions in launching 3M14K Calibre (SS-N-30A) cruise missiles from submarines in the Sea of Japan, but noted that the two submarines conducting the launch were suspected to be operating in the Far East since November of last year. He said the launches were an “intention to show the modernization of naval power domestically and internationally even in the current situation.”

“In any case, in recent years, the activities of the Russian military, including the deployment of the latest equipment and exercises/training, have tended to become more active around Japan,” Kishi added.

On Thursday, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the launching of the cruise missiles from submarines RFS Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (B-274) and RFS Volkhov (B-603) in the Sea of Japan and said the missiles successfully hit their target, a mock surface ship, though it did not disclose the location of the target. Fifteen warships and support ships, along with aircraft with the Russian Pacific Fleet, took part in the exercise, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Volkhov previously fired a of 3M14K Calibre (SS-N-30A) cruise missile from the Sea of Japan against a coastal target 1,000 kilometers away in January. Both Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Volkhov, together with the corvette RFS Gremyashchiy (337), joined the Russian Pacific Fleet in November 2021, having previously been assigned to the Russian Baltic Fleet.

Asked whether North Korea would conduct additional ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests, Kishi said Pyongyang has been launching ballistic missiles frequently since the beginning of this year, and that since North Korea has turned its back on the international community, it’s possible it will take further provocative actions in the future. But the Japan Ministry of Defense will continue to work closely with the United States and other countries in regard to North Korea’s military activities, he added.

The U.S. currently has the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group operating in the Sea of Japan as a deterrence against North Korea. The strike group conducted bilateral training with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the JASDF on Tuesday.

Cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-53) and destroyer USS Spruance (DDG-111), from the Lincoln CSG, conducted additional exercises on Wednesday and Thursday with JMSDF destroyer JS Kongō (DDG-173). The training included ballistic missile information sharing, according to a JMSDF Friday news release and a social media post.

China has been monitoring the Lincoln CSG’s activities in the Sea of Japan with its Dongdiao-class surveillance vessel number 794. The surveillance ship was seen traveling southwest, about 160 kilometers north-northeast of Tsushima, at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, according to a JSDF and Joint Staff Office news release issued Friday.

After that, the ship sailed southward in the Tsushima Strait toward the East China Sea. The ship was the same one reported traveling north in the Tsushima Strait on Monday, the JSO said, adding that Japanese destroyer JS Inazuma (DD-105) and P-1 maritime patrol aircraft from Naval Air Station Atsugi had monitored the Chinese ship. Inazuma had taken part in the exercise with the Lincoln CSG on Tuesday.

Japan Again Raises Concern Over 10 Warship Russian Navy Surface Group

Japanese officials are raising concerns over a ten-ship Russian naval group that transited from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan via the Tsugaru Strait between Honshu and Hokkaido on Thursday. The warships, belonging to the Russian Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy, had been previously seen in February operating in the southern part […]

Japanese MoD images

Japanese officials are raising concerns over a ten-ship Russian naval group that transited from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan via the Tsugaru Strait between Honshu and Hokkaido on Thursday.

The warships, belonging to the Russian Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy, had been previously seen in February operating in the southern part of the Sea of Japan and in the Sea of Okhotsk, according to the Friday release from Japan’s Joint Staff Office. Continue reading "Japan Again Raises Concern Over 10 Warship Russian Navy Surface Group"

PACFLEET CO Paparo: U.S., Japan Joint Naval Operations Key to Pacific Security

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The military alliance with Japan is key to the U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific and is growing deeper as China expands regional influence, the head of U.S. Pacific Fleet said today. Adm. Samuel Paparo said U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet and III Marine Expeditionary Force are operating as a de […]

Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, on Feb. 17, 2022. USNI News Photo

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The military alliance with Japan is key to the U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific and is growing deeper as China expands regional influence, the head of U.S. Pacific Fleet said today.

Adm. Samuel Paparo said U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet and III Marine Expeditionary Force are operating as a de facto joint task force with Japan.

“We’re seeing a more and more assertive Japan, who is rightly being more self-assertive in response to greater threats to its sovereignty every single day. So I would not advocate for the stand-up of a JTF. My advocation right now is our continued operation as is, which implements the behaviors, the habits of mind, the habits of action that lead us to become a JTF,” Paparo said at the WEST 2022 conference, co-hosted by AFCEA and the U.S. Naval Institute.

“In Japan and in Australia, we see every single day cooperative deployments, cooperative activities, and more and more have the look and feel and are authentically joint and combined operations every single day. And so I don’t see an appointment of a combined JTF in the future… Presently I would not recommend it because I see it in action every single day.”

During an earlier panel at the conference, Elbridge Colby – who served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development during the Trump administration – mentioned the idea of a combined forces command with Japan as a way to counter China in the Indo-Pacific.

Paparo said his boss, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command head Adm. John Aquilino, has already told Pacific Fleet to operate with Japan as if it’s a JTF.

“Pacific Fleet to a very large extent, actually, specifically in the maritime domain, which is where the very high majority of our operations take place right now, is designed by Adm. Aquilino as the supporting component, to execute and integrate those tasks. And so acting as a JTF every single day is a behavior that we’re bringing to bear. Because, as we know, events happen quickly. We have less and less operational warning of events,” Paparo said.

Paparo spoke days after USS Carl Vinson‘s (CVN-70) ended its deployment to the Indo-Pacific, where it drilled with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force for six planned exercises and other operations.

“They’re a great ally and very capable with their surface fleet as far as helping us out. They’re very good at the sub-surface search, you know, and grateful to have them join the strike group and steam with us because we train as an aggregate force, but then sometimes when you get to theater, we disaggregate,” Rear Adm. Dan Martin, the commander of Carrier Strike Group 1, told reporters aboard Vinson earlier this week. “It was helpful to have the Japanese jump in and plus up our numbers.”

During his Thursday keynote at WEST 2022, Paparo referenced the United States’ strategic ambiguity policy toward Taiwan.

“Taiwan represents an inflection point. If the [People’s Republic of China] unifies Taiwan by force to the mainland, this will set in motion a cascade of events across the entire Indo-Pacific. It will directly affect the United States of America, and our allies and partners,” Paparo said.

“Under the weight of that economy, and under the weight of that military pressure, Japan, South Korea, all of the vibrant economies of the Indo-Pacific – comprising seven of the world’s 10 largest militaries, comprising 60 percent of the world’s economy – all of those nations are left with a critical choice, which is either to submit to the economic and political control that will undoubtedly follow, or to arm to the teeth and go nuclear,” he continued. “And neither of those scenarios is a scenario that is going to support the security and the well-being of our nation. Know that is the visceral choice that the nation has right now.”

Tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan have increased in recent months, as Beijing has increased the flights of military aircraft through Taipei’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), which is international airspace.

Last March, former U.S. Indo-Pacific Command chief Adm. Phil Davidson raised concern in Washington when he said China could have the capability to seize control of Taiwan within the next six years, a comment that has become known as “the Davidson window” among defense and national security observers.

“I worry that they’re accelerating their ambitions to supplant the United States and our leadership role in the rules-based international order, which they’ve long said that they want to do that by 2050. I’m worried about them moving that target closer,” Davidson told Congress last year, referring to China. “Taiwan is clearly one of their ambitions before then. And I think the threat is manifest during this decade, in fact in the next six years.”

Japanese MoD Voices Concern Over Russian Naval Exercises

Japan’s defense minister raised concerns about Russia’s recent naval activities in the Sea of Japan, citing the size of the exercise and increased tension with Ukraine. In a press conference on Tuesday, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi announced a release by the Joint Staff Office (JSO) of the Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF) stating that […]

Russian and Chinese ships were spotted by the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. Photos courtesy of the Japanese Joint Staff Office

Japan’s defense minister raised concerns about Russia’s recent naval activities in the Sea of Japan, citing the size of the exercise and increased tension with Ukraine.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi announced a release by the Joint Staff Office (JSO) of the Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF) stating that Japan has tracked a total 24 Russian ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet, including three submarines and a commercial icebreaker, operating in the Sea of Japan and the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk since Feb. 1.

The Russian Navy’s fleet’s large scale exercise was unusual for this time of the year, Kishi said. The exercise, as well as the recent movement of Russian troops around Ukraine, show the country’s ability to operate in the East and West with the exercises.

“The Ministry of Defense is paying close attention to the activities of the Russian Armed Forces, including the situation in Ukraine, with great concern, and will continue to collect information and monitor alerts regarding related military trends,” Kishi said.

The movement of the Russian ships are in line with the Russian Navy’s large scale exercises from January through February. The purpose of the exercises is working out the actions of the Russian Navy and Russian Air Force to protect Russian national interests in the world’s oceans, as well as to counter military threats to Russia from the sea, according to the Kremlin.

Western nations have raised concerns in regard to their actual intentions and are seen as related to Russian actions over Ukraine.

Monitoring and tracking of the Russian ships and submarines were done by the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer JS Shiranui (DD-120) and P-3C Orions Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 2 based at Hachinohe Air Base, Honshu, according to the Japanese press release.

The release only identified the surface ships and submarines by pennant numbers and/or class. The ships spotted were destroyers RFS Marshal Shaposhnikov (543) and RFS Admiral Panteleyev (548), corvettes RFS Sovershennyy (333), RFS Gromkiy (335), RFS Gremyashchiy (337), RFS Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov (339), RFS Metel (323), RFS MPK-82 (375), RFS Koryeyets (390) and RFS Iney (418); Landing Ship Tanks RFS Nikolay Vilkov (081), RFS Admiral Nevelskoy (055) and RFS Oslyabya (066); and missile range instrumentation ship RFS Marshal Krylov (331).

Other ships spotted were the hospital ship Irtysh, an Altay class replenishment ship, Search and Rescue ship Igor Belousov, as well as several tugs and the commercial icebreaker Kapitan Klebnikov.

Russia’s Defence Ministry on Monday issued a release, along with a video, stating that ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet conducted joint maneuvering in the Sea of Okhotsk and then into tactical groups of ships along with conducting gunnery exercises.

One tactical group, consisting of corvettes Sovershennyy, Gromkiy and Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov performed joint gunnery firing at a group of surface targets simulating a detachment of mock enemy ships. The second tactical group, consisting of destroyers Marshal Shaposhnikov and Admiral Panteleev with corvette Gremyashchiy, fired at sea targets while performing the role of an enemy force.

The JSO also issued a release on Tuesday stating that the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) destroyer CNS Taiyuan (131) was sighted on Monday approximately 273 miles (440 km) north-northwest of Miyako Island and sailed between Miyako Island and Okinawa as it headed into the Pacific Ocean. Destroyer JS Makinami (DD-112) and a P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 5 based at Naha Air Base, Okinawa, conducted surveillance on the PLAN destroyer.

The JSO announced on Monday that the JSDF will carry out a joint air defense and missile defense exercise with the United States on Feb. 21-25. The exercise will be carried out at Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s (JGSDF) Matsudo, Shimoshizu, Aonohara, Iizuka, Miyako Island and Yaese bases, JMSDF Yokosuka base and, Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF) Yokota, Iruma, Kasuga, Tsukijo, Nittahara and Naha airbases.

The two forces will train for ballistic missile defence and air defense with the exercise overseen General Kōji Yamazaki, chief of Staff JSDF and Vice Admiral Karl O. Thomas, commander, U.S 7th Fleet. The release also stated that ships of the 7th Fleet will be participating in the exercise.

In other developments, the People’s Liberation Army Navy Landing Platform Dock CNS Wuzhishan (987) and replenishment ship CNS Chaganhu (967) arrived in Tonga Tuesday carrying relief supplies. The majority of foreign ships providing relief to Tonga have departed, but the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Landing Helicopter Dock HMAS Adelaide (L01) is still on station there as its embarked Australian Army units and CH-47D helicopters conduct clean up and reconstruction operations on Atata Island together with theRepublic of Fiji Armed Forces.

Adelaide was joined by replenishment ship HMAS Supply (A195) on Saturday, which arrived to replenish Adelaide and bring in additional humanitarian and disaster relief stores. The replenishment was also the first time Supply replenished an LHD and its first Replenishment at Sea operation, having only been commissioned into service in April last year.

The (JMSDF) Landing Ship Tank JS Osumi (LST-4001) is also still in Tonga as its two embarked CH-47s delivers water supplies to the islands there.

 

Luria: U.S. Needs to Provide ‘Strategic Clarity’ on Defense of Taiwan

The United States must “provide strategic clarity” on what Washington would do if China invaded Taiwan, the vice chair of the House Armed Services Committee said Monday. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) added, “We need to say [as an administration and Congress] we will come to the aid of Taiwan.” She said the time for Congress […]

Taiwan’s indigenous fighter. CNA Photo

The United States must “provide strategic clarity” on what Washington would do if China invaded Taiwan, the vice chair of the House Armed Services Committee said Monday.

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) added, “We need to say [as an administration and Congress] we will come to the aid of Taiwan.” She said the time for Congress to act is now so that the president will have the authority to respond militarily to such an event, which current law does not provide.

“We need to have the debate in Congress now, not when [the Chinese are] halfway across the strait.” Luria added, “We should not take for granted their will” to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control even if they lack amphibious assault capability.

The American public needs to realize what’s at stake in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific, she said, adding, “Do you want the Chinese to take over [from the U.S.] as the world influencer?”

Although the government is still operating under the constraints of a continuing resolution almost halfway through this fiscal year, Luria didn’t expect to see plus-ups for the Navy when the administration submits its fiscal year 2023 request.

“I think more resources need to go to the Navy and Air Force [due to] the nature” of the Indo-Pacific, and the expected emphasis the theater will receive in the new defense strategy due out this month, she said. Past spending has been roughly divided into three equal parts for the services.

Constraints on this year’s spending due to the budget impasse, she noted, impact the future schedule and cost of the Columbia class ballistic missile submarine program, the Navy’s top spending priority. Also in limbo was the $22 billion plus-up called for in the National Defense Authorization Act.

As she has in the past, Luria took exception to a policy of disinvesting – particularly decommissioning ships which still have service life in order to invest in future systems – with each year’s budget submission.
“We can’t just build a new fleet in five years,” she said.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday reenlists Sailors on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) on Feb. 24, 2021. US Navy photo.

She expected “more of the same cuts in shipbuilding” coming forward in the new budget request.t. In the relatively near future 27 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers will be coming up on the end of their service life, and decisions need to be made about possible upgrades and continued service. “It was criminal what we did to the cruisers,” Luria said.

She added that the Navy is studying refueling USS Nimitz (CVN-68) a second time to extend its service life.

“We’re always shooting for the newest things,” like artificial intelligence and quantum computing breakthroughs that could change warfare. “Sounds great [but] the truth is you can’t get rid of the platform,” she said.

On budgeting, Luria wants the services to come to the House Armed Services Committee with presentations that say, “This is what we need; here’s the risk” if those needs aren’t met, as John Lehman did when he was Navy secretary. Otherwise, it’s a “shell game” of publicly supporting the administration’s request and then submitting a list of unfunded requirements, she said.

“Truth is, there was commitment from the top” from President Ronald Reagan for an approach like Lehman’s, which is needed today from President Joseph Biden.

While Navy officials answered questions about the budget, Luria said several times that the Navy has yet to present to Congress with an updated shipbuilding plan that could help decision-making on Capitol Hill.

That plan, along with details about the Navy’s long-time repair needs, also helps private shipyards, like Electric Boat and Newport News, in adjusting the size of their workforce and potentially expanding,and can encourage other companies to look for Navy work.

“We also need to be able to invest in our private yards,” Luria said, to spread out construction on new classes like frigates. She added that Electric Boat and Newport News, in addition to delivering Virginia-class submarines, developing Columbia class and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, are now being asked to also take on major repair work.

“There’s only so much capacity on the waterfront” with public and private yards now, she said. Delays in return to service will only worsen as more ships join the fleet, she added, and other ships need necessary major maintenance to keep them in service if more yards aren’t available.

 

Aussie Big Deck Adelaide Suffers Power Outage During Tonga Aid Operations

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Landing helicopter dock HMAS Adelaide (L01), currently engaged in humanitarian and disaster relief operations in Tonga, has suffered a power outrage, the Australian Department of Defence confirmed today. The outage has not affected the ship’s ability to respond to any requirements in Tonga. The statement from the Australian DOD followed Australian […]

Landing Helicopter Dock HMAS Adelaide sits alongside Nuku’alofa to deliver humanitarian stores and medical supplies as part of OP TONGA ASSIST 22. Australian Defence Department Photo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Landing helicopter dock HMAS Adelaide (L01), currently engaged in humanitarian and disaster relief operations in Tonga, has suffered a power outrage, the Australian Department of Defence confirmed today.

The outage has not affected the ship’s ability to respond to any requirements in Tonga.

The statement from the Australian DOD followed Australian media reports on the outage. The DOD confirmed that the outage has not impacted food supplies, air conditioning is functioning aboard much of the ship, the sanitation and refrigeration systems are functioning and that the ship is not being towed.

The statement did not say how long the ship has been without power, but Australia’s ABC News reported today that it had been without power for several days already. The DoD statement said the ship turned on back-up power “to restore essential systems.”

“The situation is being closely monitored and the safety of the ship and the embarked personnel remains our highest priority,” the statement said.

“Civilian specialists are on route to conduct an assessment of the affected systems,” it continued.

The power loss is the latest problem to hit the Australian ship. On Tuesday, the DoD confirmed that Adelaide had recorded 23 positive COVID-19 cases, all of which were asymptomatic or displaying mild symptoms. Adelaide arrived in Tonga the next day and conducted a contactless unloading of supplies onto Vanu Wharf in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. The ship is currently standing by offshore waiting for any further request by the Tongan government.

HMAS Adelaide prepares to depart the Port of Brisbane with supplies, vehicles and aircraft and sail for Tonga to provide humanitarian supplies and assistance. Australian Defence Department Photo

On the same day, Japan was also forced to temporarily suspend its air transport relief operations to Tonga from Australia due to COVID-19 cases among its personnel. Operations resumed on Saturday after replacement personnel were flown into Australia.

Australia and New Zealand have both also airlifted relief supplies and conducted disaster damage assessment flights by P-8 Poseidons and P-3 Orions, respectively. China and France have also airlifted relief supplies to Tonga.

Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States are coordinating their relief efforts together, while China is operating independently.

New Zealand replenishment ship HMNZS Aotearoa (A11), which has been in Tonga since Jan. 21, has conducted replenishment for U.S. Navy destroyer USS Sampson (DDG-102) and U.K. Royal Navy offshore patrol vessel HMS Spey (P234), both of which have been deployed to Tonga for relief efforts, with Spey conducting a contactless unloading on Wednesday.

https://twitter.com/USNavy/status/1486797420973408260

Tonga is one of the few nations in the world that is COVID-19 free and there are now concerns that personnel assisting in the relief efforts may inadvertently bring the virus to the island nation, where the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano erupted on Jan. 15. The Tongan government has instituted strict protocols mandating all relief supply deliveries have to be contactless and no personnel are to come into contact with the Tongan residents.

A number of ships delivering relief supplies to Tonga are inbound with the People’s Liberation Army Navy landing platform dock Wuzhishan (987) and replenishment ship Chaganhu (967). Wuzhishan and Chaganhu are the latest PLAN ships to get dispatched to Tonga, having left Guangzhou this morning carrying 1,400 tons of supplies and equipment.

Chinese commercial ships from Fiji delivered aid supplies to Tonga on Thursday. In transit to Tonga are Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force landing ship tank JS Osumi (LST-4001), French Navy patrol vessel FNS Arago (P675) and offshore patrol vessel FNS La Glorieuse (P686), and U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752). On scene with Adelaide, Aotearoa, Sampson and Spey is New Zealand offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington (P55) and multi-role support vessel HMNZS Canterbury (L421). Aotearoa will be returning soon to New Zealand for other tasking.