Ships and aircraft from the Royal Australian Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) participated in Exercise NICHI GOU TRIDENT off the coast of Japan from 10-12 November 2021. Anzac class frigate HMAS Warramunga and its embarked MH-60 helicopter joined Murasame class destroyer JS Inazuma for a range of activities including maritime warfare serials, navigating in-company and aviation operations. The bilateral exercise has been a regular fixture in each nation’s schedule since 2009. The exercise strengthened Australia and Japan’s ability to work together in the maritime domain. The Royal Australian Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force have participated together in a number of exercises this year, including exercises MALABAR, TALISMAN SABRE, PACIFIC VANGUARD, ARC-21 and LA PEROUSE.
Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Mark Hammond said, “Japan is a special strategic partner, and shares our democratic values, commitment to a rules-based global order and desire to support a safe and prosperous Indo-Pacific. By working together often in different maritime environments, we enhance our joint capability and ensure the compatibility of systems. We are particularly pleased to have conducted the first ever Australia-Japan Asset Protection Mission, under Article 95-2 of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces Law. It’s cooperation like this that enables us to take our interoperability to the next level.”
HMAS Warramunga (FFH 152) is an Anzac-class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One of ten frigates built for the Australian and New Zealand navies, Warramunga was laid down by Tenix Defence in 1997 and commissioned in 2001. Warramunga underwent the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade during 2014. She is active as of April 2019. The Anzac class is a ship class of ten frigates; eight operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and two operated by the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). The main weapon for the Anzacs was a United Defense 5-inch 54 calibre Mark 45 Mod 2 dual purpose gun. This was supplemented by an eight-cell Lockheed Martin Mark 41 Mod 5 vertical launch system for RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles as a point-defence system. Ships were fitted for but not with a close-in weapons system, two quad-canister Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers, and a second Mark 41 launcher.
JS Inazuma (DD-105) is the fifth ship of Murasame-class destroyers. She was commissioned on 15 March 2000. Inazuma was laid down on May 8, 1997 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at Nagasaki as part of the 1995 plan and launched on September 9, 1998. Commissioned on March 15, 2000, the destroyer was incorporated into the 4th Escort Corps and deployed to Kure. The Murasame-class destroyer is a class of destroyers, serving with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). This is the first class of the second-generation general-purpose destroyers of the JMSDF. To enhance the low-observability and combat readiness capability, vertical launching systems were adopted on its missile systems: Mk 41 for VL-ASROC and Mk 48 for Evolved Sea Sparrow replace the traditional swivel octuple launchers. And the surface-to-surface missile system is alternated by the SSM-1B of Japanese make.