A Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter assigned to helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182) lands on USS Stockdale, April 17. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Andrew P. Holmes)

JAVA SEA - The guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) conducted a trilateral passing exercise with ships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the Java Sea April 17-19.

The exercise, conducted with Australian frigate HMAS Anzac (FF 150) and Japanese helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182), was designed to increase maritime interoperability and deepen mutual understanding with allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

“The exercise was an excellent learning experience,” said Cmdr. Sean Grunwell, commanding officer of Stockdale. “You can’t simulate the challenges of working with units you don’t operate with on a regular basis, and it has provided invaluable training for everyone involved.”

The exercise took place during the transit from Padang, Indonesia to Singapore after the ships participated in the Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo 2016. The three-ship force conducted several evolutions during the transit, including helicopter cross deck landings and ship maneuvers.

The ships also conducted an at-sea personnel exchange to enhance coordination and strengthen relationships between the three navies.

Commanding Officer of HMAS Anzac, Cmdr. Belinda Wood, said the activity at the end of Komodo 2016 was immensely valuable for her ship and crew.

“The opportunity to exercise with the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force is a privilege and has afforded HMAS Anzac the ability to conduct maneuvers, simulated operations room exercises, and to cross deck personnel; providing a rare insight into life onboard a partner nation warship. Working with partner navies can be challenging, but is also an extremely rewarding experience and one that Anzac has enjoyed immensely,” said Wood.

Providing a ready force supporting peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, Stockdale is operating as part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group and Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.