Tag Archives: Argyll

Trilateral Japan-UK-US Navy exercise

izumo copy

NHK reported a trilateral exercise involving the helicopter carrier (soon-to-be fixed wing aircraft carrier) Izumo and ships from the Royal Navy and US Navies.

Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force is to conduct its first joint drill with the US and British navies in the Pacific off southern Japan later this week. The MSDF says its largest destroyer, the Izumo, the British Navy’s HMS Argyll, and a US naval vessel will take part in the exercise. In the drill planned for Saturday, personnel will check the roles for each vessel and the procedures for information-sharing based on various scenarios, including conflict situations. The exercise is apparently aimed at showing the partnership among the three countries amid China’s increasing maritime activity. The mid-term defense program, approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday, says Japan will actively promote bilateral and multilateral drills. The SDF will be given more opportunities to strengthen its partnerships with the forces of other countries.

A follow-up report is here on Def Post.

Another here in Stars and Stripes.

This gives form to the trilateral naval agreement signed in October 2016 at the Pentagon by the chiefs of all three navies, committing them to “strengthen maritime contributions for achieving mutually desired strategic effects”.

It is not quite the post-World War I “Four Powers Treaty” Britain, France, Japan and USA signed in 1923 in the wake of the Anglo-Japan Alliance (1902-1923), but it is getting there.

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3 Royal Navy ships committed to police UN Sanctions on DPRK

The Royal Navy has deployed the amphibious assault vessel HMS Albion (with 300 Royal Marines embarked) to the Pacific in support of UN sanctions on North Korean shipping, making her Britain’s third vessel assigned to the mission.

The frigate HMS Sutherland is already in the area, having docked at the Japanese port of Yokosuka on 11th April to prepare for patrols in the area.

A second frigate, HMS Argyll is also due to join the effort.

“Our armed forces are at the forefront of Global Britain and the deployment of HMS Albion, Sutherland and Argyll demonstrates our unwavering commitment to our international responsibilities and to maintaining peace, security and prosperity in the region”, said Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, to mark HMS Sutherland’s arrival in Japan. (quoted in the Telegraph)

HMS Sutherland arrived at Yokosuka, the headquarters of Japan’s Maritime Defense Force fleet and home port of the U.S. Seventh Fleet’s carrier strike group.

It “will be contributing to the international efforts to monitor prohibited trade at sea by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which provides a major source of funding for its illegal nuclear program,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement, referring to North Korea by its official name.

“It’s about pressure. She is part of an international message that is going to North Korea and for the United Kingdom to see fit to send one of its frigates, to change its deployment from Southeast Asia, is part of that very powerful message,” Paul Casson, the British defense attache in Japan, told reporters in Tokyo.

The frigate will join policing operations in the seas around North Korea for about a month and will have the capability to board and inspect ships if called on to do so, Casson added. (quoted in Asahi Shinbun)

This represents two significant developments:

  1. The operationalization of defence cooperation agreements built between the UK and Japan over the past decade.
  2. The capacity and political will of the UK to commit the Royal Navy in a virtually continuous presence in the Asia-Pacific proves that it remains one of very few  nations with global maritime reach and influence.
HMS Argyll

HMS Argyll – type 23 Frigate


HMS Albion – an amphibious warfare ship, Albion carries troops, normally Royal Marines, and vehicles up to the size of the Challenger 2 main battle tank. She can deploy these forces using four Landing Craft Utility (LCUs) and four Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel (LCVPs). A flight deck supports helicopter operations. Albion can function as a command ship, and was the Royal Navy flagship between December 2010 and October 2011.

HMS Sutherland

HMS Sutherland – Type 23 Frigate, first circumnavigation of the globe by a Royal Navy ship in 14 years; first ship to receive and fire the updated Seawolf air defence missile system; most rounds fired by a modified 4.5in ‘Kryten’ gun in one day (247 if you were wondering). She is also Britain’s fastest frigate, reaching more than 34 knots (39mph) during trials in 2004.

What next

Submarines – or perhaps they are already there?

If you are going to have an unboroken presence in the region, why not go the extra step and have a RN vessel home-port in Japan permanently?


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