Japanese annual service practice live-fire exercise observed by VIPs
Sgt. Jacoby M. Davis,
32nd AAMDC Public Affairs:
The Japanese Air Self Defense Force conducted a live fire exercise Oct. 6 at McGregor Range, N.M., as part of the JASDF Annual Service Practice, a six-week training exercise that tests hundreds of Japanese air defense soldiers.
Unlike the weekly live-fires, during the ASP, this one was unique because Lt. Gen. Hideo Wakabayashi, commander of the Northern Air Defense Force, and Maj. Gen. Hikita Atsushi, the defense attaché for the Japanese embassy, were in attendance.
In a ceremony, Wakabayashi said a few words about JASDF’s readiness in regards to ballistic missile defense.
“The ASP we conduct here in the U.S. is the only exercise where we practice live firing missions,” said Wakabayashi. “Although it is regarded as a very important exercise for JASDF, we are unable to conduct it in Japan due to various restrictions … we believe that the outcome [training] has greatly contributed to our readiness.”
As the days’ events began, the official party was greeted by representatives from Unit Training and Certification and other dignitaries who discussed the JASDF concerns; afterwards, the reviewing officials were escorted to the Patriot tower where they would stay until the firing order was completed.
From the Patriot tower, the reviewing officials were able to witness the successful impact of each missile on target as well as go over some of the operational principles associated with the missile launching.
After the first firing order had ended, Raytheon officials took the opportunity to give a demonstration on a few newer software technologies.
“The reason why the Japanese come here is to evaluate their soldiers on current technologies,” said a Raytheon spokesperson during the firing exercise. “We do, however, take the time to show them the latest and greatest of what we have to offer, such as the RT-3 trainer and MANPADS stations, which are currently in use by the U.S.”
The brief demonstration ended as the call for the next firing order rang out. The reviewing officials were escorted once again to the Patriot tower where they watched more successful impacts and then were off to other events.
“We are grateful for your understanding and various supports, in spite of language barrier, cultural difference and the military difference existing between us,” said Wakabayashi. “Thanks to your support of our mission, we are able to conduct our operations effectively.”
The ASP marked the 48th year Japanese Air Defense forces were allowed to train in the U.S. from NIKE in the 1960s to Patriot missile systems in the 90s and beyond, the Japanese continue to adapt to current air defense trends. However, there are no plans to purchase the Army’s newest air defense technology, Terminal High Altitude Air Defense, said one JASDF spokesman.
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