September 12, 2018

Chinese Navy Welcomed to Australian Exercise KAKADU 2018

To the beat of a didgeridoo here is the Youtube trailer for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN's) Exercise KAKADU 2018.

A country's military power - most clearly symbolised by nuclear weapons - unsurprisingly contributes to its naval activities and decision-making. As Australia does not have nuclear weapons it has to live, in a non-confrontational manner, with dominant East Asian regional power, China.

In addition, with the US issuing conflicting signals over its relationship with loyal allies Australia feels compelled not to overly offend China.

Hence Australia invited Chinese participation in Australia's naval Exercise KAKADU 2018 (see press report and RAN website) - held in northern Australia waters from August 31 to September 15  2018. China sent Type 054A frigate Huangshan. KAKADU 2018 involved several traditionally naval operational as well as law enforcement and humanitarian activities.

Exercise KAKADU 2018 involves 27 nations, 23 warships (including a submarine) 21 aircraft and 3,000 personnel.

Australia has also not held warship Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) against Chinese militarised islands in the South China Sea. Although Australia occasionally sends out AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft to deliver aircraft FONOPs activities near some of the Chinese islands.

This is in contrast to the nuclear armed US's decision not to invite China to Exercise RIMPAC 2018 held June-August 2018 off the coast of California and involving 47 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel from 25 countries. Also the US has been most active in conducting warship FONOPs.



Anonymous said...

SS596, not a Soryu, docked at Cam Ranh after exercises in SCS.

Pete said...

Thanks Anonymous

The latest Japanese submarine that exercised in defiance of China is SS-596, which is called JS Kuroshio of the Oyashio class. JS Kuroshio was commissioned in March 2004 at the KSC shipyard in Kobe, Japan.

JS Kuroshio is not the first Oyashio class submarine to FONOPs exercise in the South China Sea. JS Oyashio (SS-511) earlier exercised in April 2016 in defiance of China - see Submarine Matters article