The UK Merlins are on board the French Amphibious LHD Mistral and will arrive in Sasebo on 29 April en route to conduct amphibious training in Guam.
The Jeanne d’Arc 2017 Task Group (TG) mission is supported by a MISTRAL Class Amphibious LHD with an escort frigate deployed in the Indo-Pacific area for a period of 4 months. The TG is not only delivering operational amphibious and combined training but also real world and educational conditions for the naval cadets embarked for this occasion. The UK is supporting this mission by deploying Merlin Helicopters from the UK’s Commando Helicopter Force, along with over 60 personnel.
The British Defence Attaché, Capt Paul Casson RN stated;
We are particularly pleased at the opportunity to exercise with the French, the Japan Self Defence Forces and the US; from a UK perspective this is entirely coherent with a long standing commitment that the British and Japanese Prime Ministers made in 2014 that our Armed Forces will train together. The UK contribution to the operational deployment of a key European ally provides a clear demonstration of our commitment to the stability of this important region.
Also, please read the Royal Navy article.