A Royal Canadian Navy submarine recently became the first non-US/Japanese naval vessel to join the ‘Annual Exercise’ – a premier bilateral exercise carried out between the navies of Japan and the US.
This year, for the first time since its inception, the exercise saw the participation of a country other than US and Japan.
The crew of HMCS Chicoutimi, a Victoria-class hunter-killer (SSK) submarine, got the honor of presenting the Canadian Navy at the Annual Exercise which took place in the waters surrounding Okinawa in mid-November. The JMSDF and the US Navy (USN) conduct these readiness preparations to evaluate procedures and interoperability in order to provide an effective and cohesive response to a regional contingency in the Asia-Pacific.
“I would like to most sincerely thank Admiral Murakawa and the JMSDF and Vice-Admiral Phillip Sawyer and the 7th Fleet for enabling HMCS Chicoutimi to participate in AnnualEx,” said Vice-Admiral M.F.R. Lloyd, Commander RCN.
“Canadian submariners are exceptionally well-trained and when combined with the stealth of a Victoria-class submarine, they form a formidable capability. It was truly an honour for HMCS Chicoutimi to represent Canada and the RCN in AnnualEx.”
In addition to AnnualEx, HMCS Chicoutimi will continue to conduct operations with the JMSDF and the USN operating out of Japan until early 2018.
Canadian frigates in Asia Pacific
Earlier in the year, Canadian Navy frigates HMCS Ottawa and HMCS Winnipeg deployed to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to further advance interoperability with the JMSDF and other regional defense partners.
The highlight of these activities was the inaugural bi-lateral initiative Kaedex, which included events at sea and ashore. Kaedex is an appropriate title as it translates to maple, a meaningful tree in both of our nations.
“In 2017, the JMSDF and RCN have operated together in the western Pacific, which represents a practical demonstration of our common interests as maritime nations. I was particularly delighted with the inclusion of HMCS Chicoutimi in AnnualEx 17. Our work with the submarine has been a big step forward in seeking high-end readiness for the JMSDF and Royal Canadian Navy,” said Admiral Yukata Murakawa, Chief of Staff JMSDF.
“The presence of HMCS Ottawa, Winnipeg and Chicoutimi in the region this year boosted military-to-military relations with Japan and demonstrated Canada’s commitment to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. The renewed durable presence of the Royal Canadian Navy here is very helpful, so we hope to see this sustained in the years ahead,” Canadian Ambassador to Japan Ian Burney said.