Four nations combine in maritime first

Department of Defence

Australia, Japan, the Philippines and the United States conducted the first multilateral maritime cooperative activity on April 7, demonstrating a collective commitment to promote and strengthen regional and international support for an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

The naval vessels and aircraft included the Philippine Navy’s BRP Antonio Luna with AW159 Wildcat ASW helicopter, and BRP Valentin Diaz (PS177); the USS Mobile and a P-8A Poseidon from the United States Navy; Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Warramunga and a RAAF P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft; and JS Akebono from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces.

Commanding Officer HMAS Warramunga Commander Jennifer Graham said it was an honour to participate in the first multilateral maritime cooperative activity within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone.

“We thoroughly enjoyed Philippine hospitality and activities while alongside at Puerto Princesa as part of our regional presence deployment, including cultural exchanges, ship tour and an official function, plus a goodwill match of soccer and basketball with the Philippine Navy at Naval Station Apolinario,” Commander Graham said.

“The maritime cooperative activity at sea included officer-of-the-watch manoeuvres, tactical manoeuvring and anti-submarine warfare exercises involving air assets from all four participants.

“These activities enhance interoperability and foster closer cooperation between the Australian Defence Force, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the United States Navy.

“Such activities directly contribute to the security and stability of the region and build mutual understanding and interoperability between nations and our armed forces.”

The RAAF P-8A crew worked with the AFP in international airspace, and 11 Squadron Detachment Commander Squadron Leader Tristan Hull said the crew found it beneficial to collaborate in consolidating maritime domain awareness procedures.

“We were very impressed with the capability, professionalism and support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines elements involved in the planning and execution of the activity,” Squadron Leader Hull said.

“By training together, we can build upon shared tactics, techniques and procedures to enhance interoperability and readiness to respond to shared security challenges.

“11 Squadron aviators welcomed senior Philippines colleagues during observation flights, which will greatly enhance our ability to operate seamlessly in the future.”

The activity underlined all four nations’ commitment to exercising freedom of navigation and overflight consistent with international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

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