Bilateral drills between UK and Japanese Navies in the Channel

According to information published by the Royal Navy on June 22, 2022, patrol ship HMS Mersey and survey vessel HMS Enterprise linked up with Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force ships Kashima, which trains officer cadets, and general-purpose destroyer Shimakaze off Portland Bill.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 HMS Enterprise, JS Shimakaze and HMS Mersey in the Channel. (Picture source: JMSDF)

The two Japanese ships are on Overseas Training Cruise 2022, sailing halfway around the world, training with friendly and allied navies on the way. The duo have already worked with Britain’s biggest warship, the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, as she led NATO exercises off the Spanish coast.

The four ships had hoped to exchange sailors for the four hours of combined training for a brief taste of life aboard each other’s vessels, but bad weather ruled out the boat transfer.

The Japanese force has now split up; the Shimakaze arrives in Portsmouth for a five-day visit, while the Kashima enjoys a prime berth on the Thames alongside HMS Belfast and opposite the Tower of London from tomorrow until Saturday as she calls on the capital.

The pair will link up with the Royal Navy again for further exercises upon sailing at the weekend, this time with HMS Severn, the Fleet’s dedicated specialist navigation training ship.

A spokesman for the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force said the training cruise visit to the UK was a direct result of last year’s deployment of the UK Carrier Strike Group to the Indo-Pacific, which saw the flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth call on Yokosuka, near Tokyo.

The Royal Navy has increased its presence in the Pacific in recent years, most visibly with last year’s carrier strike group deployment and committing patrol ships HMS Tamar and Spey to the region for the next five years.

About JS Kashima

JS Kashima (TV-3508) is a training ship of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Built to a unique design during the mid-1990s, Kashima is the flagship of the JMSDF Training Fleet.

Kashima is of a unique design referred to as the "Kashima class cadet training ship". She is 143 metres (469 ft) long, with a beam of 18 metres (59 ft), and a draft of 4.6 metres (15 ft). Kashima has a full load displacement of 4,050 tons.