Naval forces of the US, Australia, Japan and South Korea are participating in the cooperative military exercise Pacific Vanguard.

The Pacific Vanguard maritime training exercise includes over 1,500 personnel from the four countries and is being held off the coast of Guam.

Royal Australian Navy ’s HMA Ships Stuart and Arunta and destroyers JS Ashigara (DDG 178) and JS Ise (DDH 182) from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force are taking part in the exercise.

The Republic of Korea Navy deployed its destroyers ROKS Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin (DDH 975) and ROKS Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong (DDG 993).

US assets include Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52), fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Erickson (T-AO 194), and aircraft from Patrol Squadron One (VP 1) ‘Screaming Eagles’.

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

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

Australian Maritime Task Group commander captain Phillipa Hay said: “It’s more important than ever to increase practical cooperation with regional partners.

“Pacific Vanguard is an invaluable opportunity to increase the Royal Australian Navy’s understanding and experience working with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Republic of Korea Navy and US Navy.”

All safety measures have been implemented for carrying out the exercise amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Details about when the exercise will conclude remain undisclosed.

In November last year, over 1,500 sailors from four Indo-Pacific countries started the second iteration of exercise Pacific Vanguard off the coast of Guam.

The first iteration of exercise Pacific Vanguard was held in May in Guam and around the Marianas Island Range Complex.