From 15 to 18 October, ships of the navies of the United States, Great Britain, Australia and Japan participated in the international exercise Maritime Partnership Exercise 2021 (MPX 2021). The purpose of this event was to work out the interaction of several fleets and ensure collective security in the Indo-Pacific region. In addition, new subdivisions and methods were tested.
To participate in the MPX 2021 maneuvers, four countries sent a dozen ships and vessels, several aviation divisions, as well as more than 10 thousand people. personnel. In general, a large detachment was formed with ships of a number of basic classes, from heavy aircraft carriers to frigates, capable of performing a wide range of combat missions.
The lead role in MPX 2021 was taken by the US Navy, represented by the carrier strike group CSG 1. It is led by the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) aircraft carrier with CVW 2. For the first time in the region, the Air Wing of the Future was deployed. equipped with F-35C fighters and CMV-22B converters. The missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG-57) and the destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG-106) were also involved. The warships were escorted by the tanker USNS Yukon (T-AO 202).
The Royal British Navy was represented by the AUG CSG 21, built around the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08). It included the destroyer HMS Defender (D36), frigates HMS Kent (F78) and HMS Richmond (F239), as well as auxiliary vessels RFA Tidespring (A136) and RFA Fort Victoria (A387). The British strike group in the framework of international cooperation is complemented by the American destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG-68).
Also participating in the maneuvers were the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces represented by the "escort ship" JS Kaga (DDH-184) and the destroyer JS Murasame (DD-101). The Australian Navy was also represented - they sent the frigate HMAS Ballarat (FFH-155) and the tanker HMAS Sirius (O-266).
As always, the goal of the international exercises MPX 2021 was to work out the interaction of the navies of several allied countries, aimed at improving joint capabilities and ensuring collective security in the region. Taking this into account, the composition of forces and means, as well as the scenario of the event and training and combat missions, were determined.
In the waters of the Bay of Bengal, one and a half dozen ships and vessels performed joint maneuvers, and also carried out patrols in order to search for a simulated enemy. Illumination of the situation and the search for targets was carried out jointly with the use of all available naval and aviation assets, as well as with the exchange of data within the existing communication and control loops.
The ships of the four countries worked out the issues of "suppression of sea operations", anti-submarine and air defense. In a number of episodes, practice firing was carried out using a wide range of standard ship armaments. The processes of transferring various cargoes from auxiliary ships to warships were also worked out.
A significant role was assigned to the carrier-based aviation of all participating countries. Airplanes and helicopters of various types participated in monitoring the air and surface situation, in search of submarines, etc. Several times there were flights from ship to ship, incl. owned by foreign navies. Like ships, combat aircraft used weapons.
Ships and aircraft
The most interesting details of the exercise have not yet been revealed. In the messages of the press services of the fleets involved, only the successful implementation of all planned events is reported. Also a common theme News the special significance of the MPX exercises for collective security in the region and the high marks of such interaction are of particular importance.
However, it is not at all difficult to notice how the MPX 2021 differed from previous similar exercises, and what significance such features could have. According to official reports, it is about the scale and composition of forces and assets. At the same time, in several cases, the definition “for the first time” is applied.
The organization of an international exercise involving four navies and 15 pennants is nothing new or unexpected. However, you need to pay attention to the distribution of ships by class. Thus, MPX 2021 used three aircraft carriers with a full flight deck at once - these are the aircraft carriers Carl Vinson and Queen Elizabeth, as well as the destroyer Kaga. Not all naval exercises involve such aircraft-carrying forces.
The American AUG carries a mixed air group, which, along with others, includes the latest F-35C carrier-based fighters. This type of technique is first deployed fleet USA in the Indo-Pacific region. The unified F-35B fighters form the backbone of the air group of the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08). In the foreseeable future, the Japanese "flat-deck destroyer" will receive similar aircraft.
Thus, a full-fledged international aircraft carrier group with broad capabilities was formed for the MPX 2021. In addition, a significant part of its aviation equipment was made up of fighters of the latest models. Thanks to this, the three countries were able to work out the issues of interaction between aircraft carriers, and Japan and Australia were able to observe the use of F-35 aircraft. In the foreseeable future, they will be able to use their equipment of this type in the exercises.
Tactics and strategy
It should be recalled that aircraft carriers and their aircraft, with all their advantages and strengths, are only a means of implementing military policy and strategy. Exercise MPX 2021 should be viewed in this light as well. At the same time, it becomes clear that statements about the impact on the situation in the region reflect the real situation.
In recent years, the United States and China have begun an open struggle for influence in the Indo-Pacific and Asia-Pacific regions. This does not contribute to the preservation of peace, and also threatens the security of many countries. In such an environment, the United States denotes an intention to support friendly states - and the recent MPX 2021 exercise is one way of such support.
The maneuvers showed that the United States and other countries are capable of assembling a sufficiently large ship detachment with broad capabilities in a minimum time. Such a detachment can become a means of deterrence or a direct response to the actions of a potential adversary, and its potential is confirmed by practical measures.
As a result, MPX 2021 should show allies in the region that they will not be abandoned in a difficult situation. In addition, the United States and other countries are showing China a willingness to defend their interests. However, such a demonstration has an aggressive form and becomes a pretext for accusations.
Goals and Results
The recent international exercise Maritime Partnership Exercise 2021, like other similar events, had several main objectives. With their help, four friendly countries once again worked out the interaction of their naval forces in a remote region, tested new methods and models of equipment, etc. In addition, with the help of the exercises, they again gave a warning signal to a potential enemy. Reportedly, all tasks were successfully completed.
Events of this kind with similar goals and objectives are regularly held by the United States and its allies in different regions. Given the current situation, it can be expected that the activity of the American and allied fleets in the Indian and Pacific Oceans will increase. The new exercises will again be positioned as a forced measure and a response to the deteriorating international situation. At the same time, one should hardly hope that they will contribute to its improvement.