ARC21 combined amphibious exercise will gather units from Japan, USA, France and Australia in waters around Kyushu.
Yoshihiro Inaba contributed to this report. Header picture by Tamotaro
According to a Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces (JMSDF) release, the following units will take part in the unprecedented combined exercise:
ARC21 Participating units
- Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH-182),
- Atago-class guided missile destroyer JS Ashigara (DDG-178),
- Asahi-class destroyer JS Asahi (DD-119),
- Kongō-class guided missile destroyer JS Kongō (DDG-173)
- Ōsumi-class landing ship tank JS Ōsumi (LST 4001)
- Hayabusa-class patrol boats JS Ōtaka (PG-826) and JS Shirataka (PG-829),
- an unnamed submarine
In addition, JGSDF units (Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade and Western Air Defense Force CH-47JA, AH-64) and JASDF units (Western Air Defense Force F-2) will also take part in the training.
US Navy units
- San Antonio-class landing platform dock USS New Orleans (LPD-18),
- P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft,
- MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft,
French Navy units
- Mistral-class LHD Tonnerre (L9014)
- La Fayette-class Frigate Surcouf (F 711)
Royal Australian Navy unit
- Anzac-class frigate Parramatta (FFH 154)
The JMSDF contribution is significant with the participation of two top-of-the-line AEGIS destroyers (Atago and Kongo), the fleet’s most modern anti-submarine warfare (ASW) unit (Asahi), two amphibious vessels and a submarine. The participation of two (smaller) Hayabusa-class ships is noteworthy too because it marks the first time that this class participates in such a large exercise. Their role in ARC21 is so far unknown, but they could be used as opposing force (OPFOR), maybe to simulate PLAN Type 22 catamaran missile boats…
Goals of the exercise
According to the JMSDF, ARC21 will strengthen the defense cooperation between the four countries toward the realization of a “free and open Indo-Pacific”. The goal of the exercise is to Improve the tactical skills of the navies involved, in the field of island defense. The French Navy Commander of the Pacific zone (ALPACI) Admiral Rey said last week during a press conference that one of the objectives of the amphibious exercise will be to “retake an island”.