In this file photo, ships taking part in a previous Koa Kai exercise, including USS Tucson (SSN 770), USS Lake Erie (CG 70), USS Port Royal (CG 73), USS Chung-Hoon, USS Russell (DDG 59), USS Chafee (DDG 90) and USNS Yukon (T-AO 202) sail in waters surrounding the island of Oahu April 5. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico)

PEARL HARBOR - The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) helicopter destroyer JS Kurama (DDH 144) will join U.S. Navy ships in exercise Koa Kai 12-1 beginning Nov. 10, marking the first time a JMSDF surface ship will participate in the semi-annual exercise in and around Hawaiian waters.

Koa Kai 12-1 is an integrated maritime exercise to prepare independent deployers in multiple warfare areas, while also providing training in a multi-ship environment. Units participating in Koa Kai will conduct integrated flight operations, anti-surface and anti-submarine training, and dynamic ship maneuvers.

"We exercise across multiple warfare disciplines to ensure our ships are ready to meet operational requirements when they deploy," said Capt. Dave Welch, commander of Destroyer Squadron 31 (CDS 31). "Koa Kai is our primary integrated training event in the Middle Pacific to achieve deployment readiness and to complete integrated training objectives."

"We're extremely pleased that our partners in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force have joined us for this version of Koa Kai. Their participation will add great value and depth to the exercise," he added.

Kurama joins the guided-missile destroyers USS O'Kane (DDG 77) and USS Chafee (DDG 90); frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37); and underway replenishment ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11). The surface ships of CDS 31 are joined by assets from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Helicopter Squadron Light 37, Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2, and the Royal Canadian Air Force 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron.

Hawaii-based surface combatants regularly deploy to the Asia Pacific region and often train with international partners while on deployment. Koa Kai demonstrates the Pacific Fleet commitment to forward readiness, and prepares Middle Pacific ships to meet current and future challenges.