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NEWS | June 12, 2023

Four Nations’ Navies Flex Partnership While Operating in the Western Pacific

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Belen Saldana Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet

PHILIPPINE SEA -- Ships from the navies of Japan, France and Canada joined two U.S. Navy carrier strike groups to operate as a unified force in the Philippine Sea, June 9.

The aircraft carriers USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) met the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s large-deck helicopter destroyer JS Izumo (DDH 183) and surface units from Canada and France.

The integrated at-sea exercise brought together more than 12,000 Sailors from across the four maritime nations and supports U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Large Scale Global Exercise (LSGE) 23. LSGE demonstrates the U.S. military’s interoperability with allies and partners in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“The credibility of an integrated carrier strike force is the U.S. Navy’s greatest deterrent to those who threaten the international rules based order,” said Rear Adm. Jennifer Couture, commander, CSG 11, aboard USS Nimitz. “Together with our allies and partners, we’re demonstrating our capability to seamlessly integrate across all domains, our readiness to respond to any contingency, and our commitment to uphold freedom of navigation and overflight in the Indo-Pacific region.”

JMSDF Rear Adm. Takahiro Nishiyama, commander, Escort Flotilla 1, said: “The First Surface Unit of the Indo-Pacific Deployment 2023, JS Izumo and JS Samidare, departed their mother ports by June 1 to begin their three-and-a-half-month deployment operations. As the first multinational exercise, I was very excited and reassured to have the opportunity to strengthen cooperation with our important like-minded countries, the Royal Canadian Navy and the French Navy, in addition to the U.S. Navy, with which we have strong bonds of cooperation. I also believe that this exercise embodied the willingness and ability of Japan and our allies and comrades to continue our engagement in the Indo-Pacific region toward the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The combined force conducted flight operations and air defense exercise scenarios as well as simulated strikes against maritime targets. Other ships in the partnership included USS Antietam (CG 54), FS Lorraine (D 657) from the French Navy (Marine Nationale), and frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336) from the Royal Canadian Navy.

The training and events provided commanders the chance to practice capabilities across the maritime domain as participating forces focused on anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare tactics and procedures. Moreover, cooperative maritime engagements with such enduring partnerships help strengthen existing relationships and increase collective war-fighting readiness, maritime superiority and power projection.

Nimitz from CSG 11 is operating with Ronald Reagan from CSG 5 for the first time since June 2020.

“The combined operations of CSG 5 and CSG 11 -- exercising with our Canadian, French and Japanese allies -- demonstrates our interoperability, combined capability and common commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Rear Adm. Michael “Buzz” Donnelly, commander, CSG 5/Commander, Task Force 70. “As a Pacific nation, our presence allows us to coordinate across all domains and maintain a responsive maritime force that is able to support stability and security in the region by being ready across the full spectrum of naval capabilities.”

U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
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