SINGAPORE – The German Navy will deploy a frigate and a combat support ship to the Indo-Pacific in 2024, German Navy Chief Vice Adm. Jan Christian Kaack announced at the International Maritime Security Conference (IMSC) 2023 Thursday.
“We are looking forward to joint operations and exercises with our partners in the region,” Kaack said.
The mission of the two-ship task force will include freedom of navigation operations with partner navies in the South China Sea. At the same conference, senior naval leaders in the Indo-Pacific called for greater collaboration between naval forces to offset the problem of scarcity of resources and diminishing fleets due to budget constraints and costs.
The German Ministry of Defence has expanded the presence of the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) in the Indo-Pacific region as part of a comprehensive approach involving all three services. From 2021 to 2022, the German Navy deployed frigate FGS Bayern (F217) to expand its knowledge of the Indo-Pacific and lay the groundwork for future deployments. The German Air Force participated in the Rapid Pacific 2022 deployment with various aircraft. In 2023, the German Army, the Navy’s Sea Battalion and the German Air Force will deploy to Australia to take part in the U.S. –Australia-led Talisman Sabre 2023.
Kaack did not identify the German ships that will deploy in 2024. He did say it would be one of its newest frigates – one of the four 7,200 tons Baden-Württemberg class. The four ships entered service between 2019 and 2022.
The overall goal is for Germany to make a visible contribution to the rules-based order in the region and contribute to freedom of navigation. The group will also join in the United Nations embargo on North Korea via maritime surveillance operations.
Similar sentiments were echoed by the senior naval leaders who spoke at IMSC 2023.
Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in the future operations in the Pacific would be multilateral and involve air and land forces in addition to maritime ones.
Indian Navy Chief Adm. R. Hari Kumar said that collaborative efforts by like-minded nations would be an effective way to address security challenges and should be expanded.
Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) Chief Adm. Rahman Ayob said ongoing collaborative operations like the Malacca Straits Patrol conducted by Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore and the Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA) between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines to ensure security in the Sulu Sea and the Celebes Sea showed that maritime security was greatly enhanced through such arrangements.
Australian Navy Chief Vice Adm. Mark Hammond, Philippine Navy Chief Vice Adm. Toribio D Adaci Jr and New Zealand Navy Chief Radm. David Proctor all voiced concern on the global and regional maritime security situation in their speeches.
Hammond said that the global rules-based order was not being enforced or adhered to by all nations while Adaci stated that “most concerning is what we perceived is to be unilateral attempts to change the status quo and non-adherence to international maritime law.”
Proctor stated that the world is facing an increasingly volatile and uncertain strategic situation with state on state conflicts being more prevalent and geopolitics manifested through demonstrations of hard power as a mechanism that great powers are using to influence each other and that the future maritime environment would be “challenging at best with tragedy no further than a simple miscalculation away.
IMSC 2023 was held in conjunction with the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) Asia 2023 held from Wednesday to Friday. A number of non-Singapore ships are docked now in Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Changi Naval base as part of IMDEX 2023.
The ships docked are:
Destroyer INS Delhi (D61)
Frigate INS Satpura (F48)
Frigate KRI I Gusti Ngurah Rai (332)
Fast attack craft KRI Halasan (630)
Hospital ship KRI dr. Radjiman Wedyodiningrat (992)
Indonesian Coast Guard
Patrol Craft KN Pulau Nipah (PNH-321)
Offshore Patrol Vessel ITS Francesco Morosini (P431)
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)
Frigate JS Kumano (FFM-2)
People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)
Frigate CNS Yulin (569)
Minehunter CNS Chibi
Frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151)
Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
Frigate HMAS Toowoomba (FFH156)
Royal Brunei Navy
Offshore Patrol Vessel KDB Darulehsan (07)
Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN)
Frigate KD Lekiu (FFGH30)
Royal Thai Navy (RTN)
Offshore Patrol Vessel HTMS Pattani (511)
Offshore Patrol Vessel HTMS Prachuap Khiri Khan (552)
United States Navy
Littoral Combat Ship USS Mobile (LCS-26)
Vietnam People’s Navy
Frigate VPNS Tran Hung Dao (HQ-015)