The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords, front, exercises with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force training ships JS Kashima, middle, and JS Shimayuki back.

The USS Gabrielle Giffords joined two ships of the Japan Self-Defense Force for bilateral exercises in the South China Sea. The Kashima class training vessel JS Kashima and the Shimayuki Class training vessel JS Shimayuki of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force joined the US Navy’s Independence Class littoral combat ship on Tuesday. The purpose of the exercise, the Navy said, was to “practice and enhance bilateral interoperability between the two navies and to emphasize the importance of communications and coordination. Read more

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