The Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Arunta and a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft recently joined US Navy destroyer USS Momsen and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Yudachi for training in the South China Sea.

The trilateral training, which concluded on March 15, was designed to enhance interoperability and communications between all three partners, and deepen mutually beneficial relationships while promoting an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific region. 

During the training, the crews of the three ships exercised a range of professional mariner skills, including cooperative navigation, communications and helicopter operations.

HMAS Arunta, left, sails in company with US Navy destroyer USS Momsen and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Yūdachi while a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft flies overhead. Photo: US Navy Aircrewman Regnor Vondedenroth

Arunta is currently undertaking Australia’s first regional presence deployment for 2022.

During the deployment, which began in late February, Arunta has traversed regional shipping lanes, visited regional ports, participated in the multilateral Exercise Milan 2022 and engaged in other cooperative activities and training engagements with regional partners.

Regional presence deployments are part of the Australian Defence Force’s robust and longstanding program of international engagements, and demonstrate Australia’s commitment to working with regional partners to address shared challenges, including the region’s maritime security.