US Navy

German Navy joins Indo-Pacific naval exercise first time in two decades

Five international navies, including the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), German Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), and US Navy, will engage in various operations under Annualex 2021 drill.

US Navy

While coordinated maritime engagements with international partners are part of routine presence operations for many navies throughout the Indo-Pacific, Annualex 2021 marks the first time in 20 years that the German Navy is participating in maritime exercises in the region.

“The invitation to Japan-led ANNUALEX 2021 represents the operational highlight of FGS Bayern’s deployment to the Indo-Pacific region. Being the first German warship in nearly two decades to sail these seas, it is an enormous honor of having the opportunity to exercise with our partner navies within such an impressive maritime force,” said Cmdr. Tilo Kalski, commanding officer, German Navy’s FGS Bayern.

“After having conducted many training exercises over the last months with different navies, I hope that Bayern can also contribute to the overarching goal of this exercise to strengthen the multinational interoperability and mutual understanding.”

As informed, the exercise will include enhanced maritime communication tactics, anti-submarine warfare operations, air warfare operations, replenishment-at-sea, cross-deck flight operations and maritime interdiction maneuvers.

“The German navy will strengthen its commitment to the region through deeper security and defense cooperation with regional partners,” added Vice Adm. Kay-Achim Schönbach, chief, German Navy. “Germany would seek to send a frigate every two years to the Indo-Pacific region with a supply ship.”

Annualex is a yearly naval training event led by JMSDF. Naval forces from around the world are invited to participate in the event in an effort to strengthen enduring relationships while sharpening naval proficiencies at all levels. This year’s exercise will take place in the Philippine Sea, off the southern coast of Japan.

“The Royal Australian Navy has enjoyed multiple opportunities throughout this year to work with Canada, Japan, Germany and the United States, building our navy-to-navy skills and forging professional ties,” said Cmdr. Aaron Cox, commanding officer, Hobart-class destroyer HMAS Brisbane. “This robust program of engagement has prepared us well for ANNUALEX as a test of our interoperability.”

“The U.S. Navy is honored to be invited to participate once again,” commented Rear Adm. Dan Martin, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1. “ANNUALEX presents an opportunity to strategically coordinate, collaborate and further strengthen our network of partnerships and alliances, enabling us to remain a flexible, adaptable and persistent combined force capable of quickly projecting power, where and when needed.” 

Participating naval forces will operate in a complex maritime environment with integrated surface and air engagements designed to further increase collective war-fighting readiness, maritime superiority, and power projection in the Indo-Pacific, according to the officials.

“Every year, JMSDF leads ANNUALEX and provides partner and ally navies an opportunity to return and build upon existing combat interoperability capabilities to enhance readiness across all platforms as a deterrent against regional instability and aggression,” the officials concluded.

Recently, German Navy has revealed that its oldest sail training ship Gorch Fock will be returning to sea on 19 November despite a massive increase in repair costs and the fact that it has spent years in the docks and out of service.

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