Military Capabilities

Canada debuts warship at biennial military drills between Japan, US

30 October 2018
USS George Washington (CVN 73) steams in formation with JS Kirishima (DDG 174) at 'Keen Sword' 2014. The 2018 iteration is seeing at-sea participation from the Royal Canadian Navy for the first time Source: US Pacific Fleet

Key Points

  • The Royal Canadian Navy is participating in a biennial Japan-US military exercise for the first time
  • Move is in line with the Canadian government's new defence policy, which calls for a more active role in the Asia-Pacific region

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is taking part in the maritime component of a military exercise, which has been held between the United States and Japanese militaries since 1986, for the first time.

The drills, known as 'Keen Sword 19', began on 29 October, and it is seeing the participation of more than 57,000 service members across the US and Japanese armed forces. The exercise is being conducted at various locations across Japan till early November 2018.

The exercise has been described as "the largest and most complex US-Japan bilateral field training exercise", and involves assets such as the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's (JMSDF's) Aegis-capable Kongou-class guided-missile destroyer, JS Kongou (173), and the US Navy's (USN's) Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).

Ships participating from the RCN are namely the Halifax-class guided-missile frigate, HMCS Calgar y (335), and the service's interim auxiliary oiler, NRU Asterix .

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