The joint and combined naval expeditionary exercise, Noble Fusion, has commenced in the Philippine Sea near Luzon Strait and the Miyako Strait.

Several elements of the US Navy, US Marine Corps (USMC), US Air Force (USAF) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) are taking part in the exercise.

It is led by Combined Task Force 76, along with the third Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), reported gunnery sergeant Dengrier Baez.

Two Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU)/Amphibious Ready Groups (ARG), for the first time since 2018, are functioning together in the Indo-Pacific along with a CSG under Exercise Noble Fusion.

Noble Fusion’s aim is to showcase that joint and allied naval expeditionary forces can swiftly come together as a combat force when required.

The combat force will be able to carry out lethal sea-denial operations, capture key maritime terrain, assure freedom of movement, and place US, partner, and allied forces at an advantageous position.

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Combined Task Force 79 operations officer colonel Michael Brennan said: “Integrating the elements of the dual-MEU/ARG team with the power of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG), joint elements and our Japanese counterparts in a distributed operation demonstrates our ability to command and control lethal forces in contested areas, create strategic advantage and integrated deterrence.

“Our sea-denial operations with naval expeditionary integration and littoral allies prepares us to counter potential adversarial aggressive actions in the First Island Chain.”

The 11th MEU/USS Essex (LHD 2) ARG and CSG 3 performed an amphibious manoeuvre to demonstrate the ability to capture important terrain with different kinds of aircraft flying in the Philippine Sea.

AV-8B Harriers and MV-22B Ospreys of the 11th MEU operated from Essex, as well as rehearsed integrated air operations.

The platforms were accompanied by a Navy E-2D operating from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) within the Luzon Strait.

Furthermore, 11th MEU marines and sailors aboard the Essex carried out operational inspection on the Stalker uncrewed aerial solution.

In July last year, the US, UK, and Dutch naval forces performed a large-scale combined, bilateral surface, air, and sub-surface joint interoperability exercise in the Gulf of Aden.