German frigate enters South China Sea on 1st Indo-Pacific deployment in two decades

German Brandenburg-class frigate Bayern has entered the South China Sea as part of the first deployment to the Indo-Pacific in the last 20 years.

German Navy file photo of FGS Bayern

The German warship left the port city of Wilhelmshaven on 2 August for a seven-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific region. During the deployment, the vessel will operate in the vast sea area between the Horn of Africa, Australia, and Japan.

Furthermore, the deployment includes performing joint exercises with Germany’s partners in the region, such as the navies of Australia, Singapore, Japan, and the US.

The frigate joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), German Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), and US Navy for Annualex 2021 exercise in November this year.

The exercise included enhanced maritime communication tactics, anti-submarine warfare operations, air warfare operations, replenishment-at-sea, cross-deck flight operations and maritime interdiction maneuvers.

The commanding officer of the Japanese destroyer “Yuugiri” Takeshi Kumashiro praised meeting with the German frigate.

“Germany and Japan are not official military allies, but friendly nations with comparable values and interests. So the crews used the encounter of the two ships joint seamanship and military exercises – a practical expression of political solidarity. I feel honoured to have been able to work with the German Navy,” said Kumashiro.

Before the encounter with Yuugiri, the German ship had trained further in the west with the Indian frigate Trikand.One day later, Bayern had met the flagship of Operation Atalanta, Spanish frigate Navarra.

For the remaining months of their Indo-Pacific Deployment 2021, the ship is scheduled to visit Singapore, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and India, and finalize the voyage by returning back to base in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, in February 2022.

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Frigate Bayern is one of the four Brandenburg-class frigates that were commissioned between 1994 and 1996 to replace the Hamburg-class destroyers. The units feature a displacement of 3,600 tons, a length of 138.8 meters, and a beam of 16.7 meters. The vessels are able to perform anti-submarine warfare but they are also used for surface-to-surface and anti-aircraft operations.