US and allied forces begin maritime exercise Pacific Vanguard

24 May 2019 (Last Updated May 24th, 2019 12:19)

Naval forces of the US and three other allied nations are participating in a combined military exercise called Pacific Vanguard on Guam and around the Marianas Island Range Complex.

Naval forces of the US and three other allied nations are participating in a combined military exercise called Pacific Vanguard on Guam and around the Marianas Island Range Complex.

The maiden Pacific Vanguard maritime training exercise will include 3,000 personnel from the US, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Participating sailors will refine their maritime skills and improve practical cooperation at sea.

The US Navy has deployed five ships from its 7th Fleet, and fighter jets and maritime patrol aircraft for the exercise.

US assets include USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) guided-missile vessels, USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) fleet replenishment oiler and USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) dry cargo/ammunition ship.

Japan has sent two destroyers JS Ariake (DD 109) and JS Asahi (DD 119), while Australia is being represented by HMAS Melbourne (FFG 05) and HMAS Parramatta (FFH 154) frigates. The ROKS Wang Geon (DDH 978) destroyer from South Korea will also join in this four-nation naval force exercise.

US 7th Fleet commander vice-admiral Phil Sawyer said: “Pacific Vanguard joins forces from four, like-minded maritime nations that provide security throughout the Indo-Pacific based on shared values and common interests.

“This exercise advances the integration of our forces, and enables an effective collaborative response to a range of events that might occur in the region.”

The six-day exercise will include multiple naval operations such as combined manoeuvres, defensive counter-air operations, live fire exercises, anti-submarine warfare and replenishment at sea.

“This exercise enables an effective collaborative response to a range of events that might occur in the region.”

Pacific Vanguard maritime training exercise will be the latest exercise in the Asia-Pacific region involving the US military in the last several months.

Earlier this month, the US Navy conducted exercises with French, Japanese and Australian counter parts in the Bay of Bengal.

It also carried out separate drills with Japan, India and the Philippines in the South China Sea.