Sailors perform flight operations on the flight deck of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the South China Sea, March 10. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Matthew Granito)

SOUTH CHINA SEA - The Carl Vinson Strike Group began a bilateral exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), March 11, during a regularly scheduled deployment in the Western Pacific.

Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) are conducting combined operations with Japanese destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182) to enhance maritime interoperability between longstanding allies.

“Strong maritime partnerships maintain security, stability and prosperity, which the Indo-Pacific region has enjoyed for more than 70 years,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, the strike group commander. “Collaborating with a close maritime partner promotes regional cooperation.”

As part of the exercise, four JMSDF liaison officers have embarked Carl Vinson to support combined operations. The operations will include formation steaming as well as anti-submarine and air-defense training. Ise will also conduct a replenishment-at-sea with Carl Vinson.

The 646-foot Japanese destroyer displaces 18,000 tons and sails with three Y (60 K/J) helicopters. The ship’s primary missions include anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasure, logistics, and search and rescue.

The Carl Vinson Strike Group also includes Carrier Air Wing 2 and a complement of more than 70 aircraft, Destroyer Squadron 1 and guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112).

Michael Murphy conducted a passing exercise with the French frigate FNS Vendémiaire while operating in the Western Pacific and South China Sea in January and February. Sailors practiced communication and shiphandling techniques.

The strike group completed a historic port visit to Vietnam, March 9, which marked the first time an aircraft carrier visited in more than 40 years.