HMS Sutherland has conducted a series of military exercises with units from the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force and, say the MoD, built upon the continued efforts by the UK government to deepen the military relationship with Japan.
The Commanding Officer, Commander Andrew Canale remarked:
“Much work has been put into making these exercises nothing short of a success. This was an excellent opportunity to work alongside our Japanese colleagues and prove our interoperability in a series of demanding exercises.
We have learned much from each other and look forward to working together again in the future.”
According to a Royal Navy release, HMS Sutherland’s presence in the waters around Japan underlines the agreement made by Prime Ministers Abe and May at the signing of the Declaration on Defence and Security Cooperation in 2017.
Sutherland’s Principal Warfare Officer, Lieutenant Commander Matt Millyard said:
“The JMSDF is a highly proficient and professional force. My two days on board certainly demonstrated the many similarities in our approach to tactical exercises. Having now established a good working rapport with the JMSDF, I hope that follow-on units can build on the excellent relationship we have enjoyed during this invaluable period of training.”
Wildcat helicopter Flight Observer Lieutenant Max Cosby RN explained:
“This bilateral exercise has provided a good opportunity on many levels, not least with respect to operating the Royal Navy’s Wildcat helicopter in the region for the first time ever. In particular we gained valuable experience in a complex anti-submarine exercise with Japanese maritime patrol aircraft ahead of the UK’s reacquisition of this capability.”