Anti-submarine warfare and naval boarding party capabilities were among the skills practised by Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Ottawa and Japanese warships during KAEDEX 19, held near Yokosuka, Japan from October 16 to 19.
Held in the Asia-Pacific region since 2016, KAEDEX focuses on strengthening interoperability between the Royal Canadian Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.
The name KAEDEX was proposed by the Japanese in honour of Canada’s involvement – “kaede” is the Japanese word for maple.
On the first day, teams from Ottawa and Japanese Ships Chokai and Shimakaze conducted naval boarding simulations while in port.
Both teams simulated a boarding with members from Ottawa’s crew acting as civilian sailors on a fictitious vessel of interest. This was followed by demonstrations on subduing, searching and other boarding party tactics.
On October 17, Ottawa, Chokai, and Shimakaze conducted manoeuvres at sea, including practising replenishment-at-sea approaches, each taking turns as a guide ship. This was followed by a cooperative anti-submarine warfare simulation.
KAEDEX finished with a grand gesture. On the last day, Chokai and Shimakaze conducted a traditional sail past manoeuvre on Ottawa, which played “Not Ready to Go” by the Trews over the loudspeaker while all three crews waved farewell to each other before departing into the sunset.
Even though KAEDEX 2019 was delayed and scaled back due to the October 12 passing of super-typhoon Hagibis, the event was considered a success in improving interoperability.
“KAEDEX was a great opportunity for my team to see how another nation’s boarding team operates. We got the chance to demonstrate and talk about some basic boarding tactics with the teams from Chokai and Shimakaze,” said Ottawa Deck Officer Lieutenant (Navy) Gill Herlinger.
“So much that we do nowadays happens through email or messages that it’s really great when you get those face-to-face opportunities to actually meet people in a setting where you have lots of time to discuss details to enhance training,” he said.
Upon completion of KAEDEX, Ottawa continued to conduct forward naval presence operations in the Asia-Pacific region on Operation PROJECTION and Operation NEON, supporting the implementation of United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed against North Korea.
This was the second KAEDEX this year, following a KAEDEX in June involving Japan and HMCS Regina off the coast of Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam.