US, Japan, Australia to conduct Mine Warfare Exercise

November 13, 2018 – The U.S. Navy, Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) are scheduled to begin Mine Warfare Exercise 3JA 2018 off the coast of southern Japan, November 17.

This is part of an annual exercise series with the U.S. Navy and JMSDF, joined for the first time this year by the RAN. The exercise increases proficiency in mine countermeasure operations.

“Our continued work with the JSMDF combined with this year’s addition of our Australian allies gives exercise 3JA a much more vibrant impact and allows for greater richness of training,” said Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet.

During the exercise, participating units will practice unit-level mine warfare tactics to include sweeping, hunting, and mine detection.

The exercise will culminate in a combined phase in which U.S. and JMSDF will coordinate and communicate to clear a route for ships through a simulated minefield in one of the designated exercise areas.

JMSDF units include Mine Warfare Force (MWF), Commander, Mine Division (CMD) 1, CMD42, CMD43, Uraga class mine sweeper tenders JS Bungo (MST-464) and JS Uraga (MST-463)‎, one mine-sweep ocean (MSO) ship, five mine-sweep coastal (MSC) ships, and three mine countermeasures helicopters (MCH) 101.

RAN units include HMAS Huon (M 82) and HMAS Gascoyne (M 85).

U.S. units participating include USS Chief (MCM 14), Explosive Ordinance Disposal Mobile Unit Five Platoon 501, Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron (HM) 14 and the staff from Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7.