Chinese, Russian Warships Continue to Circle Japan, Defense Minister Says

An uptick in Russian and Chinese warship movements near Japan are a part of an ongoing military demonstration toward Tokyo, Japan’s Defense Minister Nobou Kishi said this week. The People’s Liberation Army Navy and the Russian Pacific fleet have, since mid-June, sent two separate surface action groups around the Japanese home islands. “The fact that […]

Chinese ships operating near Japan on June 24, 2022. Japanese MoD Image

An uptick in Russian and Chinese warship movements near Japan are a part of an ongoing military demonstration toward Tokyo, Japan’s Defense Minister Nobou Kishi said this week.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy and the Russian Pacific fleet have, since mid-June, sent two separate surface action groups around the Japanese home islands.

“The fact that about 10 Russian and Chinese ships sail around Japan on the same route in a short period of time is a display of the military presence of both countries around Japan,” Kishi said.

Seven Russian warships sailed near Hokkaido toward the Izu Islands on June 15. Five of the ships sailed in the waters between Okinawa and Miyakojima toward the East China Sea on June 21. The group sailed through the Tsushima Strait toward the Sea of ​​Japan, almost making a circle of the Japanese archipelago, he said.

On June 12, four Chinese ships sailed through the Tsushima Strait toward the Sea of ​​Japan, two of which sailed through the Tsugaru Strait and the other two through La Pérouse Strait to the Pacific Ocean. Three of these ships have been operating near around the Izu Islands, similar to the movement of the Russian ships, and were moving around the Japanese archipelago,

“The Ministry of Defense will continue to pay close attention to the trends of the Russian Navy and the Chinese Navy in the waters around Japan, and will make every possible effort to carry out warning and surveillance activities in the sea and airspace around Japan,” Kishi said.

In a response to a media questions as to whether the surveillance activities of the Russian and Chinese activities around Japan would involve the U.S., Kishi replied that the surveillance was a Japan Self Defense Force task.

Russian warships operating near Japan. Japanese MoD

The movement of the Russian and Chinese ships have all been posted on in recent releases by the Joint Staff Office (JSO) of the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

On Tuesday, the JSO issued a release stating that five Russian ships had been sighted at 7 a.m. that day and sailed northeast through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan.

Hull numbers and images provided corresponded to destroyer RFS Admiral Panteleyev (548), Corvettes RFS Sovershennyy (333), RFS Gromkiy (335), Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov (339) and the missile range instrumentation ship Marshal Krylov. The release included a map showing the earlier movements of the Russian ships around Japan in which destroyer RFS Marshal Shaposhnikov (543) and corvette RFS Gremyashchiy (337) formed part of the group in those movements.

All the ships belonged to the Russian Pacific Fleet, which has been conducting a large scale exercise since June 3. The release stated that the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer JS Amagiri (DD-154) and the fast attack craft JS Otaka (PG-826) monitored the Russian ships.

Marshal Shaposhnikov, Gremyashchiy and the tanker Pechanga, which had earlier replenished the seven Russian surface ship group operating around Japan made a port visit to Manila, Philippines, from Tuesday to Wednesday, according to a social media post by the Russian Embassy in the Philippines.

As of Friday afternoon, Japan has not reported any sightings of the three ships in the East China Sea since their departure from the Philippines, indicating the ships are either operating in the Philippine Sea or the South China Sea.

Chinese ships and aircraft have been also been heavily operating around Japan.

Two People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) destroyers and a replenishment ship were sighted sailing west between Smith Island and Torishima in the Izu Islands, according to a Japanese release Tuesday. Hull numbers and images provided identified the ships as destroyers CNS Lhasa (102) and CNS Chengdu (120) and replenishment ship CNS Dongpinghu (902).

These were the same ships cited in previous JSO releases and included a map showing their movements since the first sighting on 12 June, according to the Tuesday release. The release also stated that the JMSDF destroyer JS Makinami (DD-112) was monitoring the PLAN ships.

Russian ships operating near Japan from June 15 to June 21. Japanese MoD Image

On Wednesday, a JSO release stated that a PLAN corvette had been sighted at 9 a.m., sailing south in the waters about 220 km north of Yonaguni Island, and later on that day, at 11p.m., a PLAN destroyer was sighted sailing south in around 210 km north of Yonaguni Island. Both ships subsequently made separate passages between Yonaguni Island and Taiwan to sail towards the Pacific Ocean.

Hull numbers and images provided identified the ships as destroyer CNS Xi’an (153) and corvette CNS Xiaogan (615).

The release stated that the destroyer JS Abukuma (DE-229) and a JMSDF P-1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 1 based at Kanoya Air Field, Kyushu, conducted surveillance of the PLAN ships.

A second release on Wednesday stated that on 2 .m. Tuesday, a PLAN destroyer and two frigates were sighted sailing southeast in area approximately 280 km northwest of Kume Island, Okinawa Prefecture and, subsequently, sailed through the Miyako Strait into the Pacific Ocean.

Hull numbers and images provided correspond to destroyer CNS Taiyuan (131) and frigates CNS Zhoushan (529) and CNS Anyang (599).

The release also stated that a PLAN destroyer was sighted sailing southeast in the area around 160 km northeast of Miyako Island and subsequently transited the Miyako Strait to sail into the Pacific Ocean around 6 a.m. Wednesday. Hull number and image provided correspond to the destroyer CNS Zibo (156). The release stated that the replenishment ship JS Tokiwa (AOE-423), minesweeper JS Shishijima (MSC-691) and JMSDF P-3C Orion MPAs of Fleet Air Wing 5 based at Naha Air Base, Okinawa, monitored the PLAN ships.

On Friday, the JSO issued a release stating that Xi’an was sighted at 6 a.m. 70 km southwest of Yonaguni Island before the ship sailed north in the area between Yonaguni Island and Taiwan and sailed towards the East China Sea. The release stated the PLAN ship was monitored by Tokiwa.

A second release on Friday stated that a Dongdiao class surveillance ship with the hull number 795 had been sighted sailing northwest at an area 150 km east of Miyako Island around 9 p.m. Thursday, and, at the same time, Taiyuan and Zhoushan had been sighted sailing northward in an area about 130km south of Miyako Island.

This was followed by a 10 p.m. sighting in an area about 130km south of Miyako Island of Anyang sailing northeast and of Zibo sailing north in an area about 200km southeast of Miyako Island. Subsequently all the PLAN ships sailed northwest in the Miyako Strait and entered the East China Sea. Destroyer JS Asahi (DD-119) along with Shishijima and a JMSDF P-3C Orion MPA of Fleet Air Wing 5 monitored the PLAN ships.

Chinese aircraft have also been active around Japan as on Thursday the JSO issued a release stating that three People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) H-6 bombers flew in from the East China Sea in the afternoon that day, flying through the Miyako Strait into the Pacific Ocean where the bombers conducted separate circuits before joining together again to fly through the Miyako Strait and back into the East China Sea. Images in the release showed that two of the H-6s were carrying YJ-12 anti-ship cruise missiles.

The release stated that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF) Southwestern Air Defense Force’s fighter aircraft was scrambled and monitored the PLAAF planes.

On Friday, the JSO issued a release stating that on that morning a Chinese Y-9 electronic intelligence aircraft flew from the East China Sea and through the Miyako Strait to enter the Pacific Ocean and then made two turns before passing through the Miyako Strait to enter the East China Sea. JASDF fighter aircraft were scrambled and monitored the Chinese plane, stated the release.

Chinese H-6 spotted south of Okinawa. Japanese MoD

In other developments, the Royal Australian navy wrapped up exercise Sea Explorer 2022 on June 16, according to Defence Department release on Monday. The exercise was for the Australian Amphibious Force (AAF) to verify its capability to deploy as an integrated force and involved the landing helicopter dock HMAS Adelaide (L01) with ground and aviation units of the Australian Army. Also participating was the U.S landing Ship dock USS Ashland (LSD-48).

Capt. Phillipa Hay, commander of the Australian Amphibious Task Force, said in the release that Sea Explorer 2022 was also enriched by the presence of the United States Navy’s Japan-based USS Ashland, with AAF forces embarked on it.

“USS Ashland is one of our nearest and closest coalition partners. Together, we have demonstrated our ability to interchange and operate as a cohesive force to develop and deliver an amphibious effect,” Hay said.

“The AAF is now certified to deploy on Indo-Pacific Endeavour, Defence’s premier deployment into the region and beyond, where we will be enhancing our interoperability and relationships with key partners and friends in the region.”

Indo-Pacific Endeavour is the Australian Defence Force’s annual presence and partnership deployment spearheaded by one of its Canberra-class LHDs to the Indo-Pacific region. On odd number years the deployment focuses on Southeast and Northeast Asia while even number years focus upon the Pacific Islands. No date has been released yet for the deployment but it is expected to be a key part of the new Australian government’s goal of strengthening Australia’s partnership with the Pacific islands and rolling back China’s influence there.

Meanwhile, Adelaide’s sister ship, HMAS Canberra (L02), accompanied by frigate HMAS Warramunga (FFH152) is inbound to Hawaii for the RIMPAC 2022 exercise, having conducted a replenishment at sea with USNS Yukon (T-AO-202).

 

Chinese, Russian Warships Active Near Japan Ahead of RIMPAC 2022

Russian warships are now steaming in the East China and the Philippine seas near Japan, the Russian Navy and the Japan Defense Ministry announced on Monday. Meanwhile, the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Indo-Pacific Deployment 2022 (IPD22) drilled with the U.S. Navy while ships from five Indo-Pacific nations sailed together out of Guam en […]

Chinese ships on June 17, 2022. JMSDF Photos

Russian warships are now steaming in the East China and the Philippine seas near Japan, the Russian Navy and the Japan Defense Ministry announced on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Indo-Pacific Deployment 2022 (IPD22) drilled with the U.S. Navy while ships from five Indo-Pacific nations sailed together out of Guam en route to the Rim of the Pacific 2022 (RIMPAC2022) exercise in Hawaii.

The Russian Navy said destroyers RFS Marshal Shaposhnikov (543) and RFS Admiral Panteleyev (548) and the missile range instrumentation ship RFS Marshal Krylov were underway with accompanying corvettes had operated replenishment ship Pechenga in the Philippine Sea. The release added that the ships practiced joint maneuvering in the region with air defense, submarine search and cooperation with the aircraft of the Pacific Fleet. Earlier on Friday, the Russians said a detachment of the Russian Pacific Fleet had entered the Philippine Sea and was engaging in anti-aircraft training as well as searching for mock enemy submarines.

The movements of Russian, as well as Chinese warships around Japan, have been observed by the Japanese Ministry of Defense, with the Ministry’s Joint Staff Office issuing releases. On Friday, the JSO issued a release stating the sighting of five Russian ships comprising of a destroyer and four corvettes on Thursday in the vicinity of the Izu Islands, with the ships subsequently sailing southwest between Smith Island and Torishima. Subsequently, on Friday, a Russian Navy destroyer together with Marshal Krylov was seen at in the same area moving southwest.

Hull numbers and images provided in the release identified the ships as Marshal Shaposhnikov and Admiral Panteleyev, corvettes RFS Sovershennyy (333), RFS Gromkiy (335), RFS Gremyashchiy (337) and RFS Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov (339) and Marshal Krylov. The release also stated that destroyers JS Kongo (DDG-173) and JS Teruzuki (DD-116) along with JMSDF P-1s Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) of Fleet Air Wing 4 based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi monitored the Russian ships.

On Sunday, the JSO issued a release stating that five Russian ships were observed around Okinawa and sailed northwest through the Miyako Strait into the East China Sea. Hull numbers and images provided corresponded to Admiral Panteleyev, Sovershennyy, Gromkiy, Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov and Marshal Krylov. Teruzuki and replenishment ship JS Tokiwa (AOE-423) together with a JMSDF P-3C Orion MPA of Fleet Air Wing 5 based at Naha Air Base monitored the Russian ships.

A second group of nine Russian ships were spotted on Friday, 25 miles north of Cape Soya, Hokkaido stated a JSO release that day. Hull numbers and images provided in the released identified the ships as corvettes RFS Koryeyets (390), RFS R-29 (916), RFS R-20 (920), RFS R-24 (946), RFS R-298 (971), RFS R-19 (978) and RFS R-261 (991), an Altay class replenishment ship and the hospital ship Irtysh. The ships then sailed west through La Pérouse Strait into the Sea of Japan. Fast attack craft JS Wakataka (PG-825) and a JMSDF P-3C Orion of Fleet Air Wing 2 based at JMSDF Hachinohe Air Base monitored the Russian ships.

On Sunday, three People’s Liberation Army Navy ships were sighted sailing south in the sea area about 137 miles east of Mt. Jinhua, Miyagi Prefecture, hull numbers and images provided identified the ships as destroyers CNS Lhasa (102) and CNS Chengdu (120) and replenishment ship CNS Dongpinghu (902), according to Japanese officials. The PLAN ships were monitored by the destroyer JS Makinami (DD-112), the release also included details of the PLAN ships’ movement since their sighting on June 12 in the Tsushima Strait and the movement of a Dongdiao class surveillance ship with hull number 794 which has been on and off sailing in the vicinity of the group. Dongpinghu and Dongdiao 794 had sailed together through the Tsugaru Strait on An earlier JSO release on Friday stated that Lhasa and Chengdu were sighted on Thursday at noon sailing northeast in an area 230 km southwest of Rebun Island, Hokkaido and subsequently sailed east through La Pérouse Strait. The release stated that Wakataka and a JMSDF P-3C Orion of Fleet Air Wing 2 monitored the PLAN ships.

Meanwhile the JMSDF’s IPD22 deployment conducted its first engagement with JS Izumo (DDH-183) and destroyer JS Takanami (DD-110) having carried out an exercise with destroyer USS Sampson (DDG-102) and replenishment ship USNS Rappahannock (T-AO-204) in the Pacific Ocean from Friday to Sunday. IPD has been an annual deployment by the JMSDF since 2019 and IPD 2022 will involve two surface units, one comprising of Izumo and Takanami while a second surface unit comprises of the destroyer JS Kirisame (DD-104). An unnamed submarine will also be deployed.

In other developments, a multi-national sail exercise was held from Thursday to Saturday by ships of five Indo-Pacific navies who are sailing towards Hawaii for the Rim of the Pacific 2022 (RIMPAC 2022) exercise, set to be held in Hawaii from June 29 until August 4. The ships in the joint sail were the Indian Navy frigate INS Satpura (F48), Philippine Navy frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), Indonesian Navy frigate KRI I Gusti Ngurah Rai (332), Republic of Singapore Navy frigate RSS Intrepid (69) and Royal Malaysian Navy corvette KD Lekir (FSG26).

Chinese, Russian Warships Continue to Exercise Near Japan

A Chinese surface group sailed past Japanese islands to enter the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday while a PLAN surveillance ship sailed through the Miyako Strait on Thursday to enter the Pacific Ocean according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense. On Wednesday the Joint Staff Office (JSO) issued a released stating that at 9 a.m. on […]

Chinese Dongdiao-class surveillance ship, hull number 795

A Chinese surface group sailed past Japanese islands to enter the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday while a PLAN surveillance ship sailed through the Miyako Strait on Thursday to enter the Pacific Ocean according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

On Wednesday the Joint Staff Office (JSO) issued a released stating that at 9 a.m. on the same day, the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force sighted a People’s Liberation Army Navy Luyang III destroyer and a Jiangkai II frigate sailing southeast in an area around 75 miles northwest of Amami Oshima Island. The two ships were joined by a Yuzhao class Landing Platform Dock and a Fuchi class replenishment ship and the four ships sailed east between Amami Oshima Island and Yokoate Island into the Pacific Ocean. Hull numbers provided in the release correspond to destroyer CNS Xiamen (154), frigate CNS Binzhou (515), LPD CNS Siming Shan (986) while the hull number for the Fuichi class (904) does not correspond to any of the ships in the class but the PLAN has been renumbering several of its auxiliary and support ships.

The PLAN surface group was monitored by the JMSDF replenishment ship JS Mashu (AOE-425) and a JMSDF P-1 maritime patrol aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 1 based at JMSDF Kanoya Air Field, Kagoshima, stated the release.

On Friday, the JSO issued a release that on Thursday at 9 p.m., a PLAN Dongdiao-class surveillance ship, hull number 795 was sighted traveling southward in an area 130 km northwest of Kume Island. The ship then sailed southeast between Okinawa and Miyako Island into the Pacific Ocean. The release added that the JMSDF destroyer JS Setogiri (DD-156) and minesweeper JS Kuroshima (MSC-692) along with a JMSDF P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 5 based at Naha Air Base, Okinawa monitored the PLAN surveillance ship.

Russia’s Defence Ministry in a release on Friday announced that the Russian Pacific Fleet has begun exercises in the Pacific Ocean. The exercises involve over 40 warships and support vessels, as well as 20 planes and helicopters and will end on June 10 10, in accordance with the Pacific Fleet’s 2022 training schedule stated the release. The Defence Ministry also added in the release that the exercise would involve task groups together with naval aviation units detecting notional enemy submarines, training in air defense of ship groups along with conducting combat and training exercise involving surface and aerial targets. The exercises will also involve training in technical and logistical support of at sea units.

In other developments, the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7) departed Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) on Friday, following a scheduled port visit to CFAY that began on Sunday. Tripoli departed Naval Station San Diego, California, on an independent deployment to the Western Pacific on May 2. Over in Hawaii, fast attack submarine USS Charlotte (SSN-766) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a regularly scheduled underway on Thursday.

Chinese, Russian Bombers Hold Joint Exercises Near Japan, Korea

Four Chinese H-6 bombers and two Russian Tu-95 bombers conducted joint flights together on Tuesday around Japan and the Republic of Korea, prompting both countries to scramble fighter aircraft to monitor the flights. The joint flights took place the same day U.S. President Joe Biden was meeting his Australian, Indian and Japanese Quad grouping counterparts […]

Route of Russian and Chinese bombers during an exercise near Japan and South Korea. Japanese MoD Photo

Four Chinese H-6 bombers and two Russian Tu-95 bombers conducted joint flights together on Tuesday around Japan and the Republic of Korea, prompting both countries to scramble fighter aircraft to monitor the flights. The joint flights took place the same day U.S. President Joe Biden was meeting his Australian, Indian and Japanese Quad grouping counterparts in Tokyo, though both the Russian and Chinese defense ministries stated that the flights were part of their annual military cooperation plan and not directed towards anyone.

Japan Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, in a press conference on Tuesday, stated that the flight was provocative and that Japan had registered its concerns via diplomatic channels. Kishi also stated that as the international community responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s continuing joint military activities with Russia could not be overlooked, adding that this also showed that the security environment around Japan was becoming more tense. Kishi noted that this was the fourth joint flight since 2019 and the first since last November.

The Joint Staff Office (JSO) of Japan’s Defense Ministry issued a release on Tuesday stating that from morning to afternoon that day two Chinese H-6 bombers flew from the East China Sea to the Sea of Japan, joining two Russian Tu-95 bombers there. The four aircraft flew together to the East China Sea. Two other Chinese H-6 bombers replaced the two flying in formation with the Russian planes. The formation then flew through the Miyako Strait into the Pacific Ocean and later returned the same way. The JSO also said a Russian IL-20 surveillance aircraft flew from morning until afternoon the same day over the Sea of Japan from Rebun Island in Hokkaido to Noto Peninsula, Honshu and that for all the flights Japan Air Self Defense Force fighter aircraft were scrambled to conduct surveillance.

A Chinese H-6 bomber flying over the East China Sea. Japanese MoD Photo

The ROK’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) issued a text message to journalists stating that two Chinese and four Russian warplanes entered the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ), but did not violate South Korea’s territorial airspace, reported Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday. Yonhap also quoted the JCS saying, “Prior to their entry into the KADIZ, our military deployed Air Force fighters to conduct tactical steps in preparation against potential accidental situations,” and that at 7:56 a.m., two Chinese H-6 bombers entered the KADIZ from an area 126 kilometers northwest of Ieodo, a submerged rock south of the southern island of Jeju. The planes moved toward the East Sea (Korea’s name for the Sea of Japan) and exited the zone at around 9:33 a.m. Later, the two Chinese planes joined four Russian planes, including two Tu-95 bombers, and entered the KADIZ together at 9:58 a.m. They then left the zone at 10:15 a.m. At around 3:40 p.m., four Chinese and two Russian military aircraft were spotted flying in an area some 267 km southeast of Ieodo which lay outside the KADIZ.

Although the JCS did say what the two other Russian planes were, Russia’s defense ministry said in a press release Tuesday that Russian Su-30SM fighters provided support for the air task force during the joint air patrol.

“The Russian Aerospace Force and the Air Force of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army conducted a joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific region,” Russia’s media statement said. “The air task force composed of Tu-95MS strategic missile-carrying bombers of the Russian Aerospace Force and Hong-6K strategic bombers of the Air Force of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army conducted a joint air patrol over the waters of the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea. …In the process of accomplishing their tasks, the aircraft of both countries operated strictly in compliance with the provisions of international law. There were no violations of the airspace of foreign states.”

The Russian MOD release also stated that the joint air patrol by the Russian and Chinese strategic bombers was conducted under the 2022 plan of military cooperation and was not aimed against third countries, adding that the flights lasted 13 hours. During some stages of the flights, the release said, the bombers were escorted by fighter jets of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and JASDF.

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense on Tuesday issued a brief statement stating, “According to the annual military cooperation plan between the Chinese and Russian militaries, on May 24, the air forces of the two countries organized routine joint air strategic patrols over the Sea of ​​Japan, the East China Sea and the Western Pacific Ocean”. On Wednesday, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense of China, stated that “On May 24, the air forces of China and Russia carried out a routine joint air strategic cruise in 2022. This is the fourth strategic cruise jointly implemented by the air forces of the two countries since 2019. The purpose is to test and improve the level of cooperation between the air forces of the two countries and promote strategic mutual trust and practical cooperation between the two militaries. This action is not aimed at a third party and has nothing to do with the current international and regional situation”.

A Russian Tupolev Tu-95 Bear off Japan. Japanese MoD Photo

Earlier on Monday, the JSO issued two releases on the movements of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ships around Japan, the first release stated that on 1 p.m. on Sunday, a PLAN Type 054A frigate was sighted traveling southeast about 260 km west of Fukue Island. On Monday at 7 a.m. a second Type 054A was sighted moving northeast about 120 km southwest of Tsushima. The two ships then proceeded northeast through the Tsushima Strait and sailed toward the Sea of Japan. Images and pennant numbers provided in the release identified the PLAN frigates as CNS Xuzhou (530) and CNS Handan (579). The release stated that the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) fast attack craft JS Otaka (PG-826) and minesweeper JS Ukushima (MSC-686) along with a JMSDF P-1 Maritime Patrol aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 4 based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi monitored the ships.

The second release stated that at around 10 a.m. on Monday, May 23, a PLAN Sovremenny-class destroyer was seen 80 km northwest of Kume Island.he ship proceeded southeast through the Miyako Strait and sailed toward the Pacific Ocean. The pennant number provided identified the ship as CNS Hangzhou (136). A JMSDF P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 5 based at Naha Air Base monitored the PLAN ship.

On Wednesday the JSO issued two releases stating that all three ships had returned to the East China Sea. The first release stated that a PLAN Type 054A frigate was sighted around 4 p.m. on Tuesday traveling southwest about 120 km northeast of Tsushima (Nagasaki Prefecture), and on the same day, at around 7 p.m., another Type 054A frigate was sighted going southwest at 90 km northwest of the Oki Islands. The release stated that the two frigates sailed southwest through the Tsushima Strait into the East China Sea. Otaka, Ukushima and minesweeper JS Sugashima (MSC-681), along with a JMSDF P-1 maritime patrol aircraft, monitored the ships. The second release stated that at 1 a.m. on Wednesday a PLAN Sovremenny class destroyer was sighted traveling northwest in the waters about 130 km east of Miyako island and subsequently sailed northwest through the Miyako Strait into the East China Sea. The releases stated that the frigates and destroyer were the same ships cited in Monday’s release and that the ship was monitored by the support ship JS Amakusa (AMS-4303) and a JMSDF P-3C Orion.

Chinese Carrier Strike Group Now Operating in East China Sea

China’s Liaoning Carrier Strike Group is now operating in the East China Sea after conducting drills in the Pacific Ocean and the Philippine Sea for more than two weeks, the Japan Ministry of Defense said over the weekend. The majority of the group transited the Miyako Strait on Saturday, the Japanese government said in news […]

Ships from the Chinese Liaoning Carrier Strike Group on May 22, 2022. Japanese MoD Photo

China’s Liaoning Carrier Strike Group is now operating in the East China Sea after conducting drills in the Pacific Ocean and the Philippine Sea for more than two weeks, the Japan Ministry of Defense said over the weekend.

The majority of the group transited the Miyako Strait on Saturday, the Japanese government said in news releases on Friday and Saturday.

The Liaoning CSG includes eight ships, namely carrier CNS Liaoning (16); 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).

At 9 a.m. on Friday, a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) destroyer was sighted traveling northwest, about 110 kilometers northeast of Miyako Island, and subsequently sailed through the Miyako Strait into the East China Sea, the Joint Staff Office in Japan’s Ministry of Defense said in a news release. The JSO included a photo that only identified the ship by its pennant number, which corresponds to Zhengzhou. Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force support ship JS Amakusa (AMS-4303) and a JMSDF P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 5 based at Naha Airbase, Okinawa conducted surveillance on the PLAN ship, according to the JSO release.

On Saturday, a PLAN frigate was observed sailing northwest, about 170 kilometers east of Miyako Island, the JSO said in a separate news release on Sunday. The pennant number and image given identifies the ship as Xiangtan. Subsequently, at 3 p.m., a destroyer with a pennant number and image identifying it as Nanchang, was seen 180 kilometers east of Miyako Island, sailing west. Then, at 5 p.m., five ships with pennants and images corresponding to carrier Liaoning, destroyers Xining, Urumqi and Chengdu, and fast combat support ship Hulunhu were spotted. All seven ships then sailed together through the Miyako Strait into the East China Sea.

Japanese destroyers JS Asahi (DD-119) and JS Makinami (DD-112) and replenishment ship JS Hamana (AOE-424) sighted the PLAN ships. Suppoer ship JS Amakusa (AMS-4303)and a JMSDF P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 5 based at Naha Airbase, Okinawa conducted surveillance.

Chinese Liaoning Carrier Strike Group path to the East China Sea on May 22, 2022.

The Liaoning CSG sailed into the Pacific Ocean via the Miyako Strait on May 2 and has been conducting carrier flight operations in the Pacific Ocean and Philippine Sea since May 4. The seven ships accompanying Liaoning did not stay with the carrier throughout that period. Instead, several of the ships broke off and rejoined the carrier periodically while the carrier conducted flight operations, similar to the way United States carrier strike groups operate.

In other developments, on Sunday Japanese destroyer JS Harusame (DD-102) departed from Sasebo for the Gulf of Aden as the 42nd Deployment Surface for Counter Piracy Enforcement. It will relieve destroyer JS Samidare (DD-106), which is currently conducting the counter-piracy mission. Japan has been deploying JMSDF ships and aircraft to the region since 2009 to protect Japanese and foreign commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.

Meanwhile, in Thailand on Monday the U.S. Navy and Royal Thai Navy (RTN) began the 28th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise, according to a U.S. 7th Fleet news release.

“The Royal Thai Navy considers this exercise very valuable in developing knowledge, competency, and experience for its own personnel,” Vice Adm. Pisal Meesri, the deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Fleet, said in the news release. “I am confident that all participating forces will benefit from the professional sharing, field practice, and sea-phase training.”

The two navies will carry out multiple engagements, including tactics that will hone communications between the two navies.

“The exercise includes maritime domain awareness tracking with a P-8 aimed at increasing both navies’ ability to track and pursue targets beyond visual range, and both navies practiced helicopter cross-deck landings in addition to search and rescue training,” according to 7th Fleet.

Littoral Combat Ship USS Jackson (LCS-6) and a P-8A Poseidon aircraft with Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72 will participate in the at-sea stage of the exercise in both international waters and territorial waters by Sattahip and Ko Samui, 7th Fleet said in the news release.

Assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72 will join with ships and aircraft from the Royal Thai Navy for training focused on building interoperability and strengthening relationships. Royal Thai Navy frigates HTMS Bangpakong (FFG 456), HTMS Kraburi (FFG 457) and HTMS Naresuan (FFG 421) will participate in the drills.

“Twenty eight years of CARAT Thailand represents the longstanding alliance between the people of Thailand and the United States,” Cmdr. Brian Bungay, the commanding officer of Jackson, said in the release. “We value these opportunities to work with the Royal Thai Navy, promoting regional security cooperation, and strengthening and enhancing our ability to work together while underway.”

Chinese, Russian Navies Remain Active Near Japan; Carrier USS Ronald Reagan Begins Spring Patrol

A Chinese surveillance ship and a Russian surveillance ship made separate transits through Japan this week. The Chinese ship sailed through the Osumi Strait on Thursday, while the Russian ship sailed through La Pérouse Strait on Wednesday. The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s 41st Chinese Naval Escort Taskforce sailed through the Miyako Strait on Thursday while […]

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) departs Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) for a regularly scheduled deployment, May 20, 2022. US Navy Photo

A Chinese surveillance ship and a Russian surveillance ship made separate transits through Japan this week.

The Chinese ship sailed through the Osumi Strait on Thursday, while the Russian ship sailed through La Pérouse Strait on Wednesday. The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s 41st Chinese Naval Escort Taskforce sailed through the Miyako Strait on Thursday while en route to the Gulf of Aden, according to Japan Ministry of Defense releases.

Russian surveillance ship RFS Pribaltica (80) was sighted at 5 a.m. sailing eastward, 120 kilometers west of Cape Soya, and subsequently sailed eastwards through La Pérouse Strait, Japan’s Joint Staff Office (JSO) said in a Wednesday news release.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force fast attack craft JS Wakataka (PG-825) and P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) of Fleet Air Wing 2 based at JMSDF’s Hachinohe Air Base, Aomori, monitored the Russian ship.

On Friday, the JSO issued two releases, one stating that a PLAN Dongdiao-class surveillance ship, hull number 795, was sighted on Thursday at 9 a.m. moving westward, about 100 kilometers east of Tanegashima Island, and subsequently sailed west in the Osumi Strait towards the East China Sea. The ship was the same one sighted on April 20 traveling southeast in the sea area 160 kilometers northwest of Amami Oshima Island. Replenishment ship JS Hamana (AOE-424) and a P-1 MPA of Fleet Air Wing 1 based at JMSDF Kanoya Air Field, Kagoshima monitored the PLAN ship at the time.

On Thursday at 8 a.m., three PLAN ships – a destroyer, a frigate and a replenishment ship – were sighted 150 kilometers north of Miyako Island and subsequently proceeded southeast between Okinawa and Miyako Island into the Pacific Ocean, according to the JSO. It did not identify the ships by name, but the photos correspond to PLAN destroyer CNS Suzhou (132), frigate CNS Nantong (533) and replenishment ship CNS Chaohu (890), which form the 41st Chinese Naval Escort Taskforce.

A People’s Liberation Army Navy J-15 carrier fighter takes off from Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) on May 20, 2022. Japanese MoD Photo

The PLAN has been sending an anti-piracy escort group to protect Chinese ships traveling through the Gulf of Aden since December 2008, with the 41st Taskforce leaving China on Wednesday morning, Xinhua reported. Support ship JS Amakusa (AMS-4303) monitored the PLAN group, the JSO said.

In other developments, the PLAN CNS Liaoning Carrier Strike Group appears to be currently operating outside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the Philippine Sea, as the JSO has not issued further releases on the CSG’s activities since Monday. The last release said Liaoning, with two of its Type 052D destroyers, was sighted 350 kilometers south of Okidaito Island at 9 a.m. on Sunday and conducted flight operations from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. with its embarked J-15 fighters and Z-18 helicopters.

Destroyer JS Suzutsuki (DD-117) monitored the ships, while Japan Air Self-Defense fighters scrambled in response to J-15 launches, according to the JSO release. 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 and have been conducting carrier flight operations in the Pacific Ocean and Philippine Sea since May 4.

On May 4, two People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) H-6 bombers flew from the East China Sea, passed between Okinawa and Miyako Island, reached the Pacific Ocean, and subsequently turned over the Pacific Ocean and passed between Okinawa and Miyako Island again and headed into the East China Sea, the JSO said in a Wednesday news release. Japan launched JASDF fighters that shadowed the two aircraft.

Meanwhile, U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-72) departed Yokosuka on Friday for its 2022 spring patrol, U.S. 7th Fleet said in a news release.

Destroyers from Destroyer Squadron 15 and cruisers USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) and USS Antietam (CG-54) make up Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.

While Reagan departs, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) will make a port visit to Yokosuka on Saturday, Yokosuka City’s official website said in a news release. The Foreign Ministry had informed the city administration of the carrier’s visit on Friday.

Amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7) arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan on Friday. Tripoli left Naval Station San Diego, Calif., for an independent deployment to the Western Pacific on May 2.

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.

Chinese Carrier Group Drills in Pacific Ocean; Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group Wraps Up Exercise with Australia

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – A six-ship People’s Liberation Army Navy carrier group led by aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) is currently operating in the Pacific Ocean, according to releases from the Japanese military. The PLAN carrier group featuring Liaoning, destroyer Nanchang (101), a Luyang III-class destroyer, frigate Rizhao (598) and another Type 54A Jiangkai II frigate, […]

China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning takes part in a military drill of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the western Pacific Ocean, April 18, 2018. PLA Photo

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – A six-ship People’s Liberation Army Navy carrier group led by aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) is currently operating in the Pacific Ocean, according to releases from the Japanese military.

The PLAN carrier group featuring Liaoning, destroyer Nanchang (101), a Luyang III-class destroyer, frigate Rizhao (598) and another Type 54A Jiangkai II frigate, along with a Type 901 replenishment ship, was in the vicinity of the waters off the uninhabited Oki Daito Island, 315 kilometers, or about 196 miles, southeast of Okinawa on Dec. 20, the Joint Staff Office of the Japan Self-Defense Force said in a Tuesday news release.

The carrier was conducting flight operations with J-15 fighter aircraft along with Z-9 and Z-18 helicopters from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. that day. The JSO issued an earlier release on the same day that noted the activity of the PLAN carrier group on Dec. 19, saying it was in the vicinity of Kita Daito Island, 300 kilometers, or about 186 miles, east of Okinawa and conducting flight operations from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Liaoning, Nanchang, Rizhao and the Type 901 replenishment ship were sighted in the area west of the Danjo Islands in the East China on Dec. 15, traveling southeast with the four ships, then operating between Miyako Island and Okinawa on Dec. 16 and sailed southwards into the Pacific Ocean from the East China Sea, according to a news release the JSO issued on Friday. Helicopters were conducting flight operations throughout the two days, the JSO said. Although the releases made no mention of it, it is likely that the unnamed Luyang III-class destroyer and Jiangkai II frigate were already operating in the Pacific Ocean and subsequently joined the four ships there.

Friday’s release also said the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer helicopter carrier Izumo (DDH-183) and destroyer Akizuki (DD-115) – along with P-1 maritime patrol aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 1 at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Honshu and P-3 Orion MPAs of Fleet Air Wing 5 at Naha Air Base, Okinawa – were monitoring the passage of the PLAN ships on the 15th and 16th. Tuesday’s releases noted that Izumo was monitoring the PLAN carrier group and that Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighters had been scrambled in response to the carrier launching fighter aircraft.

An MH-60S Sea Hawk, assigned to the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, flies next to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) while transiting the Indian Ocean during a bilateral training exercise with the Royal Australian Air Force, Dec. 17, 2021. U.S. Navy Photo

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy’s Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group continues it deployment in the Western Pacific ,with the strike group recently finishing a bilateral training exercise with the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force that took place from Dec. 10 through 19 in the Indian Ocean off Australia. The exercise was for both countries “to deploy high-end training tactics and improve proficiencies in advanced kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities, capable of projecting dominant defensives against a multi-domain threat environment,” according to a U.S. 7th Fleet news release.

During the exercise, the forces drilled for scenarios ranging from electronic warfare operations to combined anti-surface and anti-air engagements, 7th Fleet said.

“Conducting advanced kinetic and non-kinetic bilateral exercises with our allies and partners increases our collective ability to outthink and outfight any adversary threatening our open seas,” Rear Adm. Dan Martin, the commander of Carrier Strike Group One, said in the news release. “Our long-term alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region preserve maritime prosperity and international order, and enable seamless integration, communication, and collaboration across the region.”

Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Warramunga (FFH-152) approaches Fleet Replenishment Oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) to begin a refueling-at-sea, Dec. 11, 2021, in the Savu Sea. U.S. Navy Photo

HMAS Warramunga (FFH152) represented the RAN with RAAF P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft also participating. Warramunga returned to its homeport at Fleet Base West, Rockingham last week.

The Carl Vinson CSG participating in the exercise included carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG-57), destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG-106), and replenishment ships USNS Rappahannock (T-AO-204) and USNS John Ericsson (T-AO-194).

U.S. Navy Wraps Up Drills With Partners in Philippine Sea, Strait of Malacca

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The U.S Navy this week completed exercises in the Philippine Sea with multilateral partners and an exercise with Malaysia in the Malacca Strait. The multilateral ANNUALEX exercise hosted by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force concluded on Tuesday. The drills also included the German Navy, the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal […]

Sailors transit the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) after debarking a CMV-22B Osprey, assigned to the “Titans” of Fleet Logistic Support Squadron (VRM) 30, Dec. 1, 2021. U.S. Navy Photo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The U.S Navy this week completed exercises in the Philippine Sea with multilateral partners and an exercise with Malaysia in the Malacca Strait.
The multilateral ANNUALEX exercise hosted by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force concluded on Tuesday. The drills also included the German Navy, the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy.

The U.S. participated with aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG57), destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG106), replenishment ships USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) and USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194) and an unnamed Los Angeles class submarine.

The German Navy participated with frigate FGS Bayern (F217), the RAN with destroyer HMAS Brisbane (D41) and frigate HMAS Warramunga (FFH152), and the RCN with HMCS Winnipeg (FFH338). Prior to the exercise, Warramunga and Bayern were on separate monitoring and surveillance patrols in the East China Sea in support of United Nations sanctions on North Korea.

JMSDF ships participating in the drills included helicopter destroyer JS Izumo (DDH-183); destroyers JS Inazuma (DD-105), JS Harusame (DD-102), JS Onami (DD-111), JS Teruzuki (DD-116), JS Asahi (DD-119), JS Yamagiri (DD-152), JS Kirishima (DDG-174) and JS Chokai (DDG-176); replenishment ship JS Oumi (AOE-426) and a JMSDF submarine.

The JMSDF also held an exercise with destroyer JS Abukuma (DE-229) and Peruvian Navy corvette BAP Guise (CC-28) on Monday in the East China Sea. Guise is the former Republic of Korea Navy corvette ROKS Suncheon (PCC-767), which was formally transferred over to the Peruvian Navy on Nov. 26 at the Jinhae Naval Base in Korea in a ceremony attended by the Korean Navy Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Boo Suk-jong and Peruvian Navy Commander-in-Chief Adm. Alberto Alcalá. Guise is the second Pohang-class corvette transferred to the Peruvian Navy. BAP Ferré (CM-27), formerly ROKS Gyeongju (PCC-758), was transferred in 2015. Guise is currently in Yokosuka for a replenishment stop before continuing its voyage home, with the ship expected to arrive in Peru the first week of January 2022.

From left, the Royal Malaysian Navy corvette KD Lekir (F 26) and frigate KD Lekiu (FFG 30) and U.S. Navy Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Tulsa (LCS 16) sail in formation during Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia 2021. U.S. Navy Photo

Over in the Malacca Strait, the U.S Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy concluded Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia 2021 on Tuesday. The U.S. Navy participated with the Littoral Combat Ship USS Tulsa (LCS-16) and a P-8A Poseidon, which staged out of the Royal Malaysian Air Force Butterworth in Malaysia. The Royal Malaysian Navy sent frigate KD Lekiu (FFGH30) and corvette KD Lekir (FSG26) for the drills. MTA Malaysia is part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series. The U.S. already completed the Indonesia and Brunei phases of the series earlier in November. MTA Malaysia resumed this year with safety mitigation measures after being cancelled in 2020 due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, Russia began its first-ever naval exercise with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The focus for the exercise, known as ASEAN – Russia Naval Exercise (ARNEX) 2021, is “Joint Actions to Ensure the Safety of Maritime Economic Activity and Civil Navigations.”

The exercise will continue through Dec. 3 in Indonesian territorial waters off the coast of North Sumatera. Destroyer RFS Admiral Panteleyev (548) will represent Russia, which is the third country after China and the U.S. to hold naval exercises with the regional body. China conducted exercises with ASEAN in 2018 and 2019, while the U.S. held one in 2019. Neither country has participated in additional exercises with ASEAN since 2019 because of the pandemic.

The Vietnam People’s Navy frigate VPNS Ly Thai To (HQ-012) arrived on Sunday at the Belawan International Container Terminal (BICT) in Belawan, North Sumatra for the exercise. Other ASEAN ships participating in the drills are Bruneian OPV KDB Daruttaqwa (09), Indonesian frigate KRI Raden Eddy Martadinata (331), Malaysian frigate KD Lekiu (FFGH30), Myanmar frigate UMS Kyansitta (F12), Singaporean corvette RSS Vigour (92) and Thai frigate HTMS Kraburi (457).

In other developments, Russian Navy corvette RFS Gremyashchiy (337); submarines RFS Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (B274) and RFS Volkhov (B603); tanker RFS Pechenga; and tug RFS Alatau are making their way through the Sea of Japan. The corvette and submarines were previously part of the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet and are now en-route to their new home bases as part of Russia’s Pacific Fleet. They linked up with the two support ships prior to making a port call in Manila, Philippines, on Nov. 16. The Russian ships were sighted 170 kilometers south of Iriomote Island at 4 p.m. on Nov. 23 and subsequently moved north in the sea area between Okinawa and Miyako-jima, according to a Tuesday news release from the Joint Staff Office of the Japan Self-Defense Force.

The group sailed northeast through the Tsushima Strait, heading for the Sea of ​​Japan on Saturday. Japanese P-1s of Fleet Air Wing 4, stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, and P-3C Orions of Fleet Air Wing 5, stationed at Naha Air Base, monitored the Russian ships’ voyages by air. Japanese destroyers JS Abukuma (DE-229), JS Setogiri (DD-156) and JS Sendai (DE-232); minesweeper JS Kuroshima (MSC-692) and patrol boat JS Otaka (PG-826) shadowed the ships on the surface.