Australian warships participated in anti-submarine drills with U.S. and Japanese warships for the first in September, as the land Down Under continues to strengthen security ties with historic allies as China rises.

Routine meetings on U.S.-Japan-Australia trilateral cooperation have continued under the Trump administration. For instance, in August, the three sides met for the seventh Australia-Japan-U.S. trilateral security dialogue ministerial in Manila and issued a statement that talked not only about North Kora, but the broader importance of upholding the rule-based order including the South China Sea, countering terrorism and violent extremism, cybersecurity, regional connectivity, and the importance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) amid the organization’s 50th anniversary.

From 12 to 19 September, in yet another step in U.S.-Japan-Australia trilateral cooperation, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for the first time joined a trilateral submarine exercise with the US Navy (USN), and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF).

Called Submarine Competition, or SUBCOMP, the exercise took place in waters south of Japan. The competition/exercise focused on each navy’s ability to take part in various aspects of anti-submarine warfare (ASW).

This year’s SUBCOMP featured four JMSDF submarines, the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Key West, and, for the first time, a RAN Collins-class submarine HMAS Dechaineux.

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