South Korea’s navy steals the show.
On 18 October the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) organised a fleet review off Tokyo’s coast (see here for pictures). Interestingly, regional competitor South Korea put on its own fleet review less than a week later.
The close proximity of the two events, which were an accident of chronology rather than any symptom of sinister intention, allowed me to easily compare them. So, without any further ado, which one was better?
Without a doubt it was the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) fleet review.
It was not the sheer size of the event, even though it featured 57 ships, 33 aircraft/helicopters and 24 AAVs, but the fact that the ROKN put on a fantastic show. For example, there was a live firing of a Sea Skua anti-ship missile from a Super Lynx helicopter, as well as a P-3 Orion dropping a torpedo after another Super Lynx with dipping sonar had identified a hostile (North Korean?) submarine.
That wasn’t all in terms of the live firing. Four vessels fired their main 76mm guns and 20mm Phalanx close-in weapon systems in a fiery display. The ROK Marine Corps also put to sea, swimming past in a flotilla of AAVs firing volleys of smoke grenades.
In addition, there was a seaborne fire-fighting demonstration, and the ROKN Seals dropped in by helicopter and wave-top-skimming RHIBs to recapture a vessel hijacked by notional pirates (North Koreans again?). In other action, patrol boats did a simulated attack run, and submarines surfaced and dived.
Throughout the event, held off the coast of the southern port city of Busan (or Pusan, if you like), media and VIPs were ensconced aboard the ROKN’s largest ship, the LPH ROKS Dokdo.
Just as it had during the JMSDF fleet review, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan put in a cameo performance along with several other accompanying US warships.
The pictures in this blog give a little taste of how the ROKN’s review excelled.