Maritime forces from Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the United States met in the waters off the eastern coast of Australia to conduct cooperative maritime exercise Pacific Vanguard (PACVAN) 2021 beginning July 5.

The Royal Australian Navy is hosting this year’s exercise, demonstrating shared trust and cooperation amongst the four nations. PACVAN is an opportunity for the four Indo-Pacific navies to strengthen their skills in maritime operations including anti-submarine warfare, air warfare, live-fire missile events, and advanced maneuvering scenarios.

Representing Australia are the Royal Australian Navy Hobart-class destroyer HMAS Brisbane (DDG 41), Collins-class submarine HMAS Rankin (SSG 78), and aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force.

“Exercise Pacific Vanguard builds on the strong and longstanding relationship between the Royal Australian and United States navies and reflects our shared commitment to robust navy-to-navy relationships across the region,” said Cmdr. Aaron Cox, commanding officer, HMAS Brisbane. “Our fleet has enjoyed multiple chances to work with the United States Navy this year and the crew of Brisbane is eager to test their skills with USS Rafael Peralta and show how our capabilities combine.”

Representing the U.S. Navy is the newest addition to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Raphael Peralta (DDG 115).

“Pacific Vanguard gives the U.S. and its allies a venue for high-end training that will contribute to our ability to effectively work together to face current and future threats,” said Cmdr. J. J. Murawski, commanding officer, USS Rafael Peralta. “Continuing to develop the bonds between each of our navies and our ability to operate together will help to ensure the stability of the Indo-Pacific region.”

Representing the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is Takanami-class destroyer JS Makinami (DDG 112).

“Pacific Vanguard 2021 is a high-end joint-action exercise against complicated high-risk threats to preserve stability and freedom of access to the global commons,” said Capt. Hirai Katsuhide, commander, JMSDF Escort Division 1. “It is a great honor to conduct this exercise with the enormous support of our host country Australia. This exercise enhances cooperation between all participants and contributes to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region toward the realization of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

The Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer ROKS Wang Geon (DDH 978) participated in the exercise.

“Our Navy took part in Exercise Pacific Vanguard to enhance combined maritime operations capability and promote the goodwill and the partnership among our friendly naval forces.” said Capt. Lee Jeong-Ho, commander, Korean Maritime Task Group.

Under Commander, U. S. Pacific Fleet, 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) fires a Standard Missile (SM) 2 during Pacific Vanguard, July 7. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Daniel Serianni)

USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) fires a Standard Missile (SM) 2 during Pacific Vanguard, July 7. (RAN/LSIS Daniel Goodman))

JS Makinami (DD 112), USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), ROKS Wang Geon (DDH 978) and HMAS Brisbane (DDG 41) sail together, July 8. (RAN/LSIS Daniel Goodman)