In a rare bilateral exercise, the U.S. and China conducted anti-piracy training off the pirate-prone Gulf of Aden, the Navy said in a Thursday statement.
The guided missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG-104) joined at least two of People’s Liberation Army Navy ships for the exercises that included visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) exercises, communication exchanges and “various other aspects of naval operations,” read the statement from U.S. 5th Fleet.
“Approximately 700 personnel from the U.S. and China navies will participate in the exercise, and it gives Sterett sailors the opportunity to engage in a shared mission with other surface platforms,” read the statement.
A Thursday U.S. Navy photo showed Sterett transiting with Jiangkai II guided missile frigate Yun Chang (571), right, and the Fuchi-class oiler Chao Hu (890).
A Pentagon spokesman said the exercises included live fire drills, according to a report in Stars and Stripes.
“The exercise allows us to address our common regional and global interest,” said Capt. Doug Stuffle, commander, U.S. Navy Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 1.
“It helps both nations pursue a healthy, stable, reliable and continuous bilateral relationship.”
Last year, the U.S. Navy and the PLAN conducted a first round of anti-piracy exercises between USS Mason (DDG-87) and the Luhu-class destroyer Harbin and oiler Weishanhu.
Those exercises included VBSS training, live fire drills and a rare helicopter landings.
In September, China’s anti piracy force has also conducted similar drills with the Iranian Navy.
Sterett is currently deployed as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (CSG) currently in U.S. 5th Fleet supporting the ongoing airstrikes agains the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as part of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).