EMBARGOED NEWS: Royal Navy joins US-Japan military exercise ~ HMS for first time Spey joined KEEN SWORD 23 off Japan.
Press release, Whale Island, November 19, 2022: [Embargoed until 2230] British patrol vessel HMS Spey took part in one of the largest military exercises in the Pacific – the first time the Royal Navy has joined Exercise KEEN SWORD.
With the participation of 36,000 military personnel, 30 ships and 370 aircraft – mainly from Japan and the United States, plus Australia and Canada – the ten-day exercise is a major test of land, maritime forces and aerial. This year, the ten-day military training focused on a combined response to armed attacks aimed at testing the readiness of participating nations while improving the ability of participating nations to work together seamlessly.
“For the crew of HMS Speythe opportunity to participate in Exercise KEEN SWORD 23 provided countless opportunities to further develop our ability to work together and to continue our excellent working relationship with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the many other allies and partners participating exercise,” said Lieutenant Commander Bridget Macnae, the ship’s executive officer.
Departing from the Japanese base of Yokosuka, Spey – making his first visit to the Land of the Rising Sun – sailed with the Japanese amphibious/landing ship JS Kunisaki, to tie in with the exercise’s main task force and one of the largest gatherings of military naval equipment in the region in recent years. Twenty warships were led by a Japanese attack submarine and flanked by the combined force of the American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the Japanese helicopter destroyer JS Izumo.
“It was really impressive to see such a large mass of warships,” said warfare specialist Able Seaman Harry Cox. “It’s not every day that we see such a gathering of ships from so many different navies come together. Being led by a Japanese submarine with an American aircraft carrier with their entire air wing on board, right in front of us, made me realize the magnitude of Exercise KEEN SWORD.
The second leg of the exercise evolved into a full-scale amphibious assault on the island shores of Japan with HMS Spey permanent coast guard to provide protection for larger units against small highly maneuverable fast attack craft. Meanwhile, Japanese shipping and other partners landed troops, armored vehicles, tanks and artillery by helicopter, landing craft and hovercraft.
“KEEN SWORD gave the opportunity to Spey to engage in our largest multinational exercise to date, building on the successes and lessons learned from previous operations with Japanese units,” said Lt. Kyle-Davidson, HMS SpeyOperations Officer. “In particular, he showed that these offshore patrol vessels can integrate into a US-Japan amphibious task force and operate close to shore, patrolling the flanks of larger operations to monitor shipping and help maintain waterways. assault.”
KEEN SWORD first took place in 1985, with field training and command post exercises – also known as KEEN EDGE – alternating each year. This year’s event is the 16th such training exercise. His participation in KEEN SWORD ended, Spey remained in Japan, visiting the port of Kure, which allowed the ship’s crew to experience Japanese culture, traditions and hospitality for the first time. Young Officers in training on Spey visited the Japanese Naval Officers Academy, Etajima – the Japanese counterpart to the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. Other sailors traveled to nearby Hiroshima and remember World War II victims in the city’s Peace Memorial Park.
“Having the opportunity to visit Japan as part of my job in the Royal Navy has been amazing,” said Morgan Redman, Marine Engineer, Engineering Technician. “It’s an extremely diverse country with so much history and culture, the Japanese have been so welcoming and incredibly gracious.
“Visiting Hiroshima was a huge privilege and the Peace Memorial Park was a sobering experience that will remain etched in my memory for a lifetime.”
Spey is one of two Royal Navy patrol vessels deployed on a long-term mission in India-Asia-Pacific alongside her sister ship HMS Tamarreinvigorating Britain’s naval presence after a quarter of a century as part of the wider UK ‘swing’ to the region.