US submarine joining Japan’s large scale “Submarine Competition”

Illustration: US Navy file photo of Los Angeles-class submarine USS Buffalo

An unidentified US Navy Los Angeles-class attack submarine is set to take part in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Submarine Competition (SUBCOMP) exercise in waters south of Japan.

The seven-day drill starts February 13.

SUBCOMP is designed to evaluate and test Japanese crews across multiple platforms on their ability to conduct various aspects of anti-submarine warfare.

The inclusion of US Navy assets in the exercise also provides an excellent opportunity for bilateral integration and coordination in an anti-submarine warfare environment for both the US Navy and the JMSDF.

In addition to the US submarine, this year’s SUBCOMP will feature several JMSDF submarines, four aircraft wings, an aircraft squadron and five JMSDF ships including the Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise (182). The top performing crew will be recognized with the Japanese Battle Efficiency Award.

“The success of September 2017’s engagement is an indication of how valuable this training is to our readiness and bilateral cooperation,” said Capt. John Stafford, the Submarine Group 7 Deputy Chief Of Staff for Operations. “This is the kind of anti-submarine exercise our crews train for at home and practice at sea. We’re pleased that our boat will have the opportunity to put their training to good use and we look forward to the opportunity to showcase our skills while working with our Japanese counterparts in a forward-deployed environment.”

“We are very pleased to have a US Navy submarine play a role in this year’s Submarine Competition,” said CAPT Toshiaki Hoshina, Deputy Chief Of Staff for Operations, Commander, Fleet Submarine Force, who will be organizing the exercise. “Their participation will significantly improve our interoperability and strengthen the partnership among our forces.”

During the exercise, a US Navy sonar technician from the US Pacific Fleet Navy Data Center will embark a JMSDF submarine.

“Having a US sailor onboard will provide valuable insight into diesel submarine operations and tactics,” said Stafford. “As we expand our role in the Indo Pacific, I hope we will continue to develop our capabilities along with our allies, and aggressively pursue these opportunities to hone our skills in this vital and dynamic region.”

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