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The first thread was eating by the Oops! bug as well as the second thread immediately upon creation so here is a new thread. Maybe the thread title of the second thread attracted the bug. All the countries listed in the topic tag beneath the title have a common concern about China's expansion into the South China Sea and because of that have been developing defense relations with each started really taking shape in 2016 with the start of China's man-made island construction in the South China Sea in 2014 and 2015.

 

Chinese bomber flying near Scarborough Shoal in 2016

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PRC man-made island in the South China Sea at Mischief Reef.

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At Fiery Cross Reef.

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At Subi Reef.

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It'll be too much work to try to track down all the articles with all the pictures in general chronological order as the pictures were at least uploaded in date order. So I'll just be putting up the pictures and link some videos with brief descriptions based on what I remember. The main point is that the defense relations exist and came about to counter a growing China.

 

 

Balikatan 2016 - The Philippines and USA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwSF0iEXYd4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2oJ1XWzvxM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7yIRXvIIK0

 

Malabar 2016 - Japan USA and India

 

 

 

JS Hyuga visited the Philippines 2016

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Two JMSDF destroyers made a first visit of its kind to Vietnam in April 2016

 

Two Japanese destroyers arrived Tuesday in a historic visit to Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay which fronts the South China Sea.

As I mentioned in an earlier piece, Japanese officials had disclosed last month that two Japanese warships would sail to the Philippines and on to Vietnam, accompanied by a submarine arriving in Subic Bay (See: “Japanese Submarine to Visit the Philippines Amid South China Sea Tensions”).

On Tuesday, two guided-missile destroyers from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) – the Ariake and Setogiri – carrying 500 crew members, made a port call at Cam Ranh Bay International Seaport in Vietnam. Japanese officials have confirmed that the visit is the first of its kind.

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At a welcome ceremony, Japan’s ambassador to Vietnam, Fukuda Hiroshi, read a letter written by Japan’s Minister of Defense Gen Nakatani on the need to preserve peace and stability in the South China Sea for the benefit of the region and the world. Nakatani also praised the port of Cam Ranh, where Vietnam inaugurated a new international facility capable of receiving foreign warships in March (See: “Vietnam Unveils New Port Facility for Foreign Warships in Cam Ranh Bay”).

At a press conference back in Tokyo, Nakatani also said that he expected defense collaboration with Vietnam to grow and that Japan would work with other major powers such as the United States to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea.

As I mentioned in a previous piece, while the move may appear to be a new development, in has in fact been in the works for a while as Japan has sought to boost defense ties with Vietnam, one of the more forward-leaning Southeast Asian claimants in the South China Sea disputes, amid China’s growing assertiveness there.

Last November, Nakatani and his Vietnamese counterpart Phung Quang Thanh had already agreed during a meeting in Hanoi last November that Japanese vessels would be allowed to make port calls in Cam Ranh Bay, a deep-water harbor in central Vietnam alongside the South China Sea (See: “Japan Warships Could Visit Vietnam Naval Base Near South China Sea in 2016”).

http://thediplomat.com/2016/04/japanese-destroyers-visit-vietnams-cam-ranh-bay-in-historic-move/

 

 

 

Keen Sword 2016 - US and Japan

http://www.usfj.mil/Media/Press-Releases/Article-View/Article/991856/keen-sword-2017/

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South Korea and Koreans appear to have more pressing concerns over Japan's recent statements of fact regarding Takeshima.

 

Koichi Mizushima, deputy chief of the mission at the Japanese Embassy in Korea, enters the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in downtown Seoul, Tuesday. The foreign and defense ministries called in Mizushima and Kyosuke Tsushima, Japanese defense attache at the embassy, respectively, in protest of Tokyo's territorial claim over Dokdo in its white defense paper issued on Tuesday. / Yonhap

 

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/08/08/national/politics-diplomacy/south-korea-protests-japans-claim-islets-summons-diplomats/

 

Glad to see the South Korean Foreign Ministry has its priorities in order.

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South Korea and Koreans appear to have more pressing concerns over Japan's recent statements of fact regarding Takeshima.

 

Koichi Mizushima, deputy chief of the mission at the Japanese Embassy in Korea, enters the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in downtown Seoul, Tuesday. The foreign and defense ministries called in Mizushima and Kyosuke Tsushima, Japanese defense attache at the embassy, respectively, in protest of Tokyo's territorial claim over Dokdo in its white defense paper issued on Tuesday. / Yonhap

 

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/08/08/national/politics-diplomacy/south-korea-protests-japans-claim-islets-summons-diplomats/

 

Glad to see the South Korean Foreign Ministry has its priorities in order.

 

no matter what the crisis is between the two Koreas, their joint fist shaking at Japan shall continue. :D

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South Korea's attention towards North Korea and the critical role China has towards North Korea is a big factor in reducing to point of virtual neutrality South Korea's participation in the network of defenses that focus a lot on the South China Sea. Publicly made statements from ROK towards the South China Sea are also virtually absent. The various sticky points between ROK and Japan hinder trilateral defense relations with the US towards things that are more specifically related to North Korea.

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Picture of US bases in Okinawa. In December 2016, an agreement was reached to return about half of the area called "Northern Training Area" back to Japan.

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The Philippines and JMSDF joint-training. Philippines need more bigger boats ready.

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US special forces Green Berets jump from JGSDF helicopter at Japanese airborne event on January 8th 2017.

 


The customary new year "Start Descent Training" by the JGSDF 1st Airborne Brigade was carried out on January 8th at the Narashino Maneuver Grounds in Yakuendai, Funabashi City. The US military participated for the first time together with the elites from the SDF's sole airborne unit.

With the 1st Airborne Brigade, JASDF, as well as 15 personnel (9 parachuted) from 1st Special Forces Group, 1st Battalion stationed at Okinawa, the training included about 300 Japanese and American elites. 16 various aircraft such as C-130H and helicopters, 12 vehicles of various types, and 120mm mortars were also used.

Regular visitors watched over at the cold wind blowing maneuver grounds as the training started with the descent of 1st Airborne Brigade's chief commander Yasuyuki Kodama along with other commanders. One by one, personnel jumped out from transport aircraft flying 210km/h at 340km above the ground. Lots of applause was giving to the personnel as they safely touched down on the training grounds.

After the parachuting, personnel, vehicles, and mortars were transported by helicopter, and various complex training was carried out by personnel on the ground and with attack helicopters.

In front of the personnel that completed the hour and a half long training, State Minister of Defense Kenji Wakamiya instructed to them "I want you all to not be satisfied with your highly held skills, but to aim even higher and be diligent everyday, and to cultivate power that can be used in real combat" thus concluding the training.


陸上自衛隊第1空挺団による新春恒例の「降下訓練始め」が8日、船橋市薬円台の習志野演習場で行われた。今回は米軍が初参加し、自衛隊唯一の空挺部隊の精鋭とともにパラシュートを使った降下訓練を展開した。

訓練には、同部隊をはじめ航空自衛隊や沖縄に駐留する米軍第1特別部隊群第1大隊の15人(降下は9人)を含む約300人の日米の精鋭が参加。C-130H輸送機やヘリコプターなど航空機16機と、各種車両12台や120ミリ迫撃砲なども投入された。

冷たい風が吹き付ける演習場で一般来場者が見守る中、兒玉恭幸第1空挺団長ら各指揮官の降下で訓練がスタート。上空約340メートルを時速210キロで飛ぶ輸送機から隊員が次々と降下。パラシュートが開き、演習場内に無事着地するたびに、隊員らへ大きな拍手が送られた。

隊員らの降下後に、ヘリを使った隊員や車両、砲門の輸送や、着地した隊員らと攻撃ヘリによる戦闘などの複合訓練が次々と展開された。

約1時間半にわたる訓練を終えた隊員を前に、若宮健嗣防衛副大臣が「持っている高い能力に満足せず、さらなる高みを目指して日々精進し、実戦で使える力を養ってもらいたい」と訓示し、訓練を締めくくった。

 

http://chibanippo.co.jp/news/local/376738

Americans jump is at 25:20

 

 

 

 

US and Japan conducted first SM3 Block2A intercept test successfully.

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E-2Ds arrived in Japan in early 2017.

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USN warships, a destroyer and a sub tender, visited Cam Ranh Bay for the first time in October 2016 since 1975.

 

 

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John S. McCain and the Emory S. Land-class submarine tender USS Frank Cable arrived in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam‘s strategically important South China Sea port, on October 2 for a scheduled port visit, according to a U.S. Pacific Command press release.

The visit of the U.S. warships – the first visit of commissioned U.S. Navy warships to Cam Ranh Bay since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 – comes in the wake of Hanoi and Washington celebrating the 21st anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations in 2016.

The U.S. and Vietnamese navies have a held a number of joint naval exercises over the past decade.

“NEA [Naval Engagement Activity] Vietnam has evolved from annual port visits to Da Nang by U.S. Navy ships, which began more than a decade ago, to a multi-day bilateral naval engagement ashore and at sea. Each year the engagement becomes more complex, and last year marked the first time a littoral combat ship, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), participated,” U.S. Pacific Command notes.

(The Freedom-class LCS USS Forth Worth is at the moment out of action after suffering damage to its propulsion system caused by a human error in January.)

As my colleague Prashanth Parameswaran explained in The Diplomat, “though the United States refers to its naval interactions with Southeast Asian states such as the Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) and the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) as exercises, those with Vietnam continue to be referred to on their own as a Naval Engagement Activity (NEA).”

Prior to its arrival at Cam Ranh Bay, the USS John S. McCain participated in a search and rescue scenario and a communications exercise featuring the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES). The USS Frank Cable is one of one of two forward-deployed submarine tenders and is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. naval forces in the region.

While at Cam Ranh Bay, “sailors and military sealift command civilian mariners will have a chance to explore, learn, and share with the people of Vietnam,” the press release states. Furthermore U.S. Pacific Command notes that the NEA with Vietnam is “designed to foster mutual understanding, build confidence in the maritime domain, and develop relationships between the people and navies of both nations.”

Both U.S. Navy warships departed Vietnamese shores on October 4.

 

 

http://thediplomat.com/2016/10/1st-us-warships-port-at-cam-ranh-bay-since-end-of-vietnam-war/

 

 

 

USN and JMSDF visited Vietnam for PP17 in May 2017.

 

 

One vessel of the U.S. navy and two ships of the Japanese self-defense forces arrived at Cam Ranh Port in south-central Vietnam on Saturday afternoon for activities to accelerate cooperation in the region.

The visit is part of the Pacific Partnership 2017 (PP17), a U.S. Navy-initiated mission to enhance regional coordination in areas such as medical readiness and preparedness for man-made and natural disasters.

The U.S. Navy’s expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Fall River (T-EPF-4) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s helicopter destroyer JS Izumo 183 and Takanami-class destroyer JS Sazanami 113 arrived at Cam Ranh for a training agenda revolving around humanitarian and medical aid.

According to Captain Stanfield Chien, PP17 mission commander, this year’s mission in Khanh Hoa Province would include seminars on civil construction projects, professional discussions and disaster response drills.

There would also be coordination in coastal health and marine search and rescue missions.

Naval forces of the three countries will preside over the completion of Hoa Mi and Son Ca kindergartens in Khanh Hoa, and the U.S. Seventh Fleet Band will be performing at local parks and a secondary school as part of the agenda.

The USNS Fall River belongs to the U.S. Military Sealift Command, measuring 103 meters in length with a beam of 28.5 meters and a draft of 3.83 meters.

The ship can reach a maximum speed of 43 nautical miles per hour and is capable of accommodating 312 crew members.

The JS Izumo (DDH-183) is a helicopter destroyer and the lead ship in the Izumo class of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The US$1.2 billion ship was launched in 2013 and commissioned in 2015, measuring 282 meters long and 38 meters wide with a loaded displacement of 27,500 metric tons.

The ship can reach 30 nautical miles per hour and is armed with three Phalanx CIWS and two SeaRAM CIWS weapon systems.

The JS Izumo 183 can carry up to 28 aircraft with space for nine helicopters on its deck at any given time, and is capable of conducting anti-submarine as well as humanitarian missions.

Meanwhile, the JS Sazanami (DD-113) measures 151 meters long, 17.4 meters wide and 10.9 meters high, with a draft of 5.3 meters.

The vessel has a standard displacement of 4,650 metric tons and 6,300 when fully loaded, and can carry 175 troops.

The Pacific Partnership 2017 ships had departed the central city of Da Nang on Thursday after completing ten days of disaster response training, medical and engineering expertise exchanges, cooperative health engagements, and community relations events.

 

 

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http://tuoitrenews.vn/politics/41085/us-japan-naval-vessels-visit-vietnams-cam-ranh-port-for-pp17

 

 

 

US and Vietnam agreed on US carrier visiting Vietnam sometime next year.

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Though Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis discussed a wide range of issues in their bilateral defense ties during their August 8 meeting, the biggest headline item that emerged was the first visit of a U.S. aircraft carrier to Vietnam, set for next year. While the move had long been under discussion by both sides, it represents yet another step forward for a relationship that has seen some quick gains in the Trump administration thus far despite deeper, lingering challenges that remain.

As I have noted previously, the United States and Vietnam have a broad defense relationship, built in line with the gradual normalization of ties that has taken place since U.S. President Bill Clinton was in office in 1995. Defense cooperation has slowly grown to encompass areas including maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping

But bilateral defense relations have also been strengthening over the past few years as part of a broader comprehensive partnership signed in 2013 under former U.S. President Barack Obama, who presided over the historic lifting of a decades-old arms embargo on Vietnam toward the end of his presidency (See: “Why the Lifting of the US Arms Embargo to Vietnam Matters”).

The positive momentum in U.S.-Vietnam ties looks to be continuing under the new administration of U.S. President Donald Trump so far. A string of high-level visits have already gotten underway quickly, including the White House visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in May. Trump has also committed to going to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) in Vietnam this November, and there has been a series of moves in the maritime security domain, including the handing over of patrol boats and a Coast Guard cutter as well as U.S. port visits and other naval engagements

To be sure, greater alignment is needed on a few issues like trade and North Korea, and Hanoi in particular, not unlike some of its other Southeast Asian neighbors, has wider, lingering concerns about how U.S. Asia policy will shape up under this administration (See: “The Ticking Clock on Trump’s Asia Strategy”). But few would contest that the broad strategic convergence and initial momentum are both there.

On Tuesday, Vietnam’s Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich finally met with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in a much-anticipated meeting that had been postponed from its original date. The two took stock of defense ties to date and agreed to deepen cooperation in several areas, including more naval engagement and information-sharing. They also discussed regional security challenges, with the South China Sea being a focus given Hanoi’s growing concerns about new manifestations of old Chinese assertiveness, including stopping Vietnam from exploring and exploiting energy resources within its own waters

But the main item that grabbed the headlines was the sending of a U.S. aircraft carrier to Vietnam next year. Though the move should be seen in the context of the broader relationship, its significance ought not to be missed. Washington has long signaled it would like to see such advances in maritime cooperation, especially steps like this, which signal that its allies and partners are willing to support the very U.S. regional presence that they privately call for but at times remain far quieter publicly about.

And while Hanoi has been careful to calibrate how quickly it pushes its defense ties with Washington – as they often need to be weighed against other considerations such as domestic politics as well as the balancing of its foreign relationships, including with its neighbor China – the fact that moves like an aircraft carrier visit are being agreed to speaks for itself in terms of its assessment of the current regional security environment and how that affects how Vietnam will pursue its interests and its alignments with major powers.

To be sure, a more thorough assessment of the significance of this move and what it means for bilateral defense relations will only really be possible with the specifics that both sides have so far been (unsurprisingly) quiet about, and, of course, the actual realization of the agreed move. Yet it no doubt bears watching closely, given what we have seen so far in U.S.-Vietnam ties under Trump as well as the state of the Asian security environment more generally.

 

 

http://thediplomat.com/2017/08/us-vietnam-defense-relations-under-trump-get-a-boost-with-first-aircraft-carrier-visit/

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USN-JMSDF joint-patrol training in the East China Sea area. Carried out from March 27th to March 29th. USS Carl Vinson among some other American naval vessels (need a report from the US side to get names of others) and JS Yuudachi, JS Samidare, JS Sazanami, JS Umigiri, and JS Hamagiri.

http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201703/20170329-01.pdf

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US Navy and JMSDF joint patrol training in the East China Sea area from March 7th to March 10th. USS Carl Vinson, JS Samidare, JS Sazanami, and a few other USN ships.

http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201703/20170310-01.pdf

https://www.facebook.com/JMSDF.PAO.fp/posts/1378101988918182

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USS Micheal Murphy and JS Teruzuki conduct joint-training in the South China Sea on March 17th.

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=99466

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Okinawa college students toured USS Bonhomme Richard on March 25th 2017.

http://www.pacom.mil/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1134387/okinawa-college-students-tour-uss-bonhomme-richard-lhd-6/

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170331-N-GR361-024 EAST CHINA SEA (March 31, 2017) The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20) (not pictured) and the Japanese destroyer JDS Sazanami (DD 113) steam together in formation through the East China Sea for a photographic exercise. Green Bay, part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, with embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted a series of drills and maneuvers with Sazanami over a two-day period to improve interoperability and coordination in order to operate jointly under the tenets of the U.S.-Japan alliance.

https://www.dvidshub.net/image/3280576/170331-n-gr361-024

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170331-N-TH560-191 SEA OF JAPAN (March 31, 2017) The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Takanami-class destroyer JS Sazanami (DD 113) steams alongside the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) in the Sea of Japan. Green Bay, as part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), with embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted a series of drills and maneuvers with Sazanami over a two-day period to improve interoperability and coordination to operate jointly under the tenets of the U.S.-Japan alliance.

https://www.dvidshub.net/image/3281397/uss-bonhomme-richard-lhd-6-steams-alongside-uss-green-bay-lpd-20-js-sazanami-dd-113

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170331-N-TH560-015 SEA OF JAPAN (March 31, 2017) A Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) SH-60J Seahawk helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard, flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, with embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is on a routine patrol, operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance warfighting readiness and posture forward as a ready-response force for any type of contingency.

https://www.dvidshub.net/image/3281403/uss-bonhomme-richard-lhd-6-steams-alongside-uss-green-bay-lpd-20-js-sazanami-dd-113

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170426-N-BL637-175 PHILIPPINE SEA (April 26, 2017) The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), foreground, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Atago-class guided-missile destroyer JS Ashigara (DDG 178), left, and the JMSDF Murasame-class destroyer JS Samidare (DD 106) transit the Philippine Sea. The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific routinely for more than 70 years promoting regional peace and security. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)

http://www.navy.mil/view_image.asp?id=235812

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SEA OF JAPAN (April 25, 2017) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) conducts a bilateral training exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Kongou class guided-missile destroyer JS Choukai (DDG 176). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William McCann/Released)

http://www.navy.mil/view_image.asp?id=235903

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Two JASDF F-15s carried out joint-training with 2 F-18s from USS Carl Vinson while the carrier was conducting joint-training with the JMSDF on April 28th. Other participating warships were USS Lake Champlain, USS Michael Murphy, USS Wayne E. Meyer, JS Ashigara, and JS Samidare.

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http://www.sankei.com/politics/photos/170428/plt1704280029-p2.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4s63zEkur0

 

 

JS Izumo carried out JMSDF's first escort mission for USN on May 2nd.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003672877

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnZ78bRdMxs

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JS Izumo and JS Sazanami training with USS Coronado in the South China Sea on May 18th 2017.

http://www.pacom.mil/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1187907/us-navy-japan-maritime-self-defense-force-conduct-passing-exercise-in-south-chi/

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The JMSDF stated that helicopter destroyer "Izumo" and destroyer "Sazanami" carried out joint training with USS Dewey in the South China Sea on the 26th and 27th of May [2017]. USS Dewey carried out a "freedom of navigation" operation in the South China Sea. The JMSDF said that their destroyers did not participate in the "freedom of navigation" operation and that the joint-training was in things like formation check and communication.

海上自衛隊は28日、ヘリコプター搭載型護衛艦「いずも」と護衛艦「さざなみ」が、南シナ海で「航行の自由」作戦を実施した米海軍のミサイル駆逐艦デューイと26~27日、南シナ海で共同訓練したと明らかにした。海自によると、護衛艦は「航行の自由」作戦には参加しておらず、共同訓練は編隊の確認や通信などだった。

http://www.sankei.com/politics/news/170528/plt1705280022-n1.html

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At part labeled 5月27日~28日http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/izumo-sazanami/index.html

 

 

Friendship and joint-training from June 4th to June 8th - Japan and the Philippines

6月4日~8日 http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/izumo-sazanami/index.html

http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201706/20170609-01.pdf

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Large joint-training from June 1st to June 3rd in the Sea of Japan - US and Japan

http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201706/20170601-01.pdf

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USS Ronald Reagan carried out joint cruise training with JS Hyuga and JS Ashigara from June 3rd to June 9th going from the Sea of Japan down south to the sea area east of Okinawa. On June 6th, Naha based JASDF F-15Js and E-2C joined and trained with EA-18s.

http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201706/20170609-02.pdf

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JS Izumo, JS Sazanami, USS Sterett, HMAS Ballarat, and HMCS Winnipeg conducted joint-training in the South China Sea on June 9th and 10th

http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201706/20170612-01.pdf

https://www.facebook.com/JMSDF.PAO.fp/photos/a.161923763869350.40583.161912430537150/1478545545540492/?type=3

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USS Ronald Reagan and JS Izumo conducted joint-cruising training in the South China Sea from June 13th to June 15th.

http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201706/20170616-01.pdf

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Exercise Southern Jackaroo 2017 - Australia, the US, and Japan

 

 

DARWIN, Australia — Australia’s “Outback” is home to some of the world’s most exotic and dangerous animals, and its desolate plains – coupled with scorching heat – offer a challenge of a lifetime to the most physically fit and mentally tough Soldier.

From May 18-June 2, Soldiers assigned to B Company, “Bulls,” 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, tested their mettle in the Outback, participating in exercise Southern Jackaroo 2017, or SJ, an annual, trilateral military training exercise sponsored by Australia Defense Force with participation of elements of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force and U.S. Marine Rotational Force-Darwin.

SJ 2017 is one of many annual multinational military training exercises aimed at enhancing professional partnerships, operational readiness and interoperability between U.S. Pacific Command and allied partners within the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Rim regions.

“Exercise Southern Jackaroo is all about improving that critical defense collateral relationship between the defense forces of the U.S., Japan and Australia,” said the commander of 1st Bde., Australian Army, Brigadier Ben James. “Train hard and fight easy – that’s what we are doing out here at Mount Bundey Training Area. Soldiers from all three nations are learning tough lessons about surviving in the field and how best to work alongside each other: It’s been a great exercise.”

“Southern Jackaroo offers an opportunity for our Soldiers to gain a deeper understanding of how we fit into the Pacific area of operation,” said Lt. Col. James Hart, commander of 1-21st Inf. Bn. “It also provides an understanding of the capabilities that our Australian, Japanese and Marine partners (U.S.) bring to the fight: how to operate in a joint environment.”

SJ originally started in 2013 as a combined marksmanship event following the Australian Army Skills at Arms Meeting, a shooting event that involves over 12 nations.

In 2015, SJ evolved into a field training and live-fire exercise with the Australian Army’s Ready Bde. hosting the event.

This year’s exercise was hosted by the Australian Army’s 1st Bde. and included an emphasis on live fire at the platoon level and company level within a Battle Group construct.

“It was very rewarding to see leaders at all levels coordinating directly and effectively with their peers of a different nationality in tactical situations, and to see Soldiers of all ranks gravitating to each other during down periods to learn more and develop as a team,” said Capt. John Voss, commander for B Co., 1-21st Inf. Bn.

SJ 2017 incorporated blank and live-fire scenarios, dismounted and mounted offensive actions, sniper/marksmanship training and defensive operations.

Training for this year’s exercise occurred at the Mount Bundey Training Area in Australia’s Northern Territory, which proved to be a unique and highly physically demanding training environment for the Soldiers of B Co.

“The outback is uniquely demanding. In order to maintain the effectiveness of the individual Soldier over time, we learned how to plan operations to minimize the physical burden during the hottest part of the day and incorporate water sustainment in every aspect of the mission,” said Voss. “We also learned to maximize equipment that is not traditionally necessary, like mosquito nets and sun shade.”

One of the common themes throughout the exercise was how all three nations embraced their differences. Using them as learning lessons, they could incorporate in their own training, but also leveraged similarities to build camaraderie.

“Although, there are differences, we are all quite similar,” said Pvt. Zac Nathan, a Soldier assigned to 1st Bde., Australian Army. “Southern Jackaroo will help the Australian military in future training; the U.S. military uses a much faster pace when conducting TTPs and missions in urban environments. We can take this as a learning point towards how we train.”

“The biggest take-away for the Bulls is how similar we are to our partners, said Voss. “We do a few things differently, but at the end of the day, we know we could swap out individual Soldiers or entire platoons with a partnered Australian unit and not miss a beat.”

http://www.hawaiiarmyweekly.com/2017/06/01/2ibct-tests-mettle-strengthens-multinational-military-partnerships-in-outback/

 

Video of the exercise: http://video.army.gov.au/play/5168

 

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US and Japan to conduct joint-training with SSMs next year in Hawaii.

It became known on the 24th that the US military will carry out joint-training with the Self-Defense Force using JGSDF surface-to-ship guided missiles (SSM). In order to strengthen deterrence and countermeasures, it will be fitted into the Rim of the Pacific exercise (Rimpac) schedule next summer at Hawaii. A US military that does not posses SSMs will learn from the JGSDF about the know-how on equipment and operation, and then coming into view is invoking the SDF Nansei defense to the South China Sea.

The JGSDF's advanced SSMs, like the "Type 12" are a pillar to the strengthening of the Nansei defense which is based on the threats of Chinese Naval warships. Equipping and deployment first started for a Soviet invasion of Hokkaido, but now a shift was made to Nansei defense towards China becoming the target of threat. While on the other hand, for a US whose threat from the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans became more distant no longer has a need for SSM for coastal defense.

However, the US military showing a desire to operate SSMs now is coming from a recognition of their necessity in the shift against China in the South China Sea. Reflecting that was when US Pacific Fleet Commander Harris made a speech in May in Tokyo where he said "indicated a strengthening in the ability to sink ships (for US ground based units) by having to look into plans for island chain defense". With SSMs in mind he also said "learn from the JGSDF".

The island chain indicates the 1st island chain that goes from Kyushu to Okinawa and the Philippines. This defense would be placing SSMs along ally and friendly nations such as the Philippines and Indonesia along this islands to exercise authority over Chinese naval warships.

Giving some maritime defense weight to US land based units is part of a new US military concept called multi-domain battle. It is assessed as taking the growing JGSDF Nansei defense in the East China Sea and expanding it to the South China Sea, and by doing so is the aim of confining Chinese warships within the interior of the 1st island chain.


自衛隊と米軍が、陸上自衛隊の地対艦誘導弾(SSM)を使った共同訓練を初めて実施することが24日、分かった。中国艦艇への抑止力と対処力を強化するためで、来夏のハワイでの米海軍主催による環太平洋合同演習(リムパック)で行う調整に入った。SSMを保有していない米軍は装備・運用のノウハウを陸自から習得し、自衛隊の南西防衛を南シナ海に援用することを視野に入れている。

 陸自の最新鋭SSMは「12式」で、中国海軍艦艇の脅威を踏まえた南西防衛強化の柱。旧ソ連の北海道侵攻に備える装備として配備が始まり、喫緊の脅威対象が中国に移ったことで南西防衛にシフトさせた。一方、太平洋と大西洋で脅威対象から距離的に離れている米国に沿岸防衛用のSSMは不要とされてきた。

 だが、ここにきて米軍がSSM運用に意欲を示すのは、南シナ海での対中シフトに不可欠だと認識しているためだ。それを象徴するのが米太平洋軍のハリス司令官が5月に東京都内で行った講演で、ハリス氏は「列島線防衛の新しい方策を検討すべきで(米陸上部隊に)艦艇を沈める能力の強化を指示した」と発言。SSMを念頭に「陸自から学びたい」とも述べた。

 列島線は九州から沖縄、フィリピンなどに至る第1列島線を指す。その防衛とは列島線沿いにある同盟国や友好国のフィリピンやインドネシアなどと連携してSSMを置き、中国海軍艦艇ににらみを利かせる。

米陸上部隊に海上防衛を担わせることは、マルチ・ドメイン・バトル(複数領域での戦闘)という米軍の新たな構想の一環。東シナ海で進めている陸自の南西防衛を南シナ海に拡大するものとも位置づけられ、それにより中国艦艇を第1列島線の内側に封じ込める狙いがある。(半沢尚久)

http://www.sankei.com/politics/news/170625/plt1706250003-n1.html

 

 

 

Vietnam government says it confirms procurement of BrahMos from India.

New Delhi, Aug 18: In what could further deteriorate Sino-Indian bilateral ties, Vietnam on Friday confirmed the procurement of BrahMos Cruise Missiles from India.

The acquisition of BrahMos by Vietnam is likely to embolden its self-defence programme amid the row prevailing in the South China Sea, the joint water body where Beijing has escalated its presence.

The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry today announced the acquisition of the cruise missiles from New Delhi, in accordance with the Vietnam-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in Defence.

“The procurement of defence equipment by Vietnam is consistent with the policy of peace and self-defence and is the normal practice in national defence,” said the Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang.

China’s People’s Liberation Army, in the past year, had objected to the deployment of BrahMos missiles by India at Arunachal border. The PLA claimed that the move would create “Sino-Indian rivalry” and “negative impact” on the relations between the two nations.

According to defence experts, the anti-ship supersonic nature of Brahmos missiles provide an edge to the Indian forces. With Vietnam acquiring the state-of-the-art defence equipment from India, it is bound to raise concerns for Beijing on the eastern front.

Vietnam, along with Cambodia, Laos and Japan, have objected against China’s “aggressive policies” in the South China Sea. The nations, backed by US and India, have accused Beijing of converting shoals and tiny islands in the joint waterbody into full-fledged military bases.

As the crisis deepens in the South China Sea, Beijing, in the past month lashed out at US and its allies for “meddling” in the region. “There are some nations which wants to create conflict among us. They want to create disability in region and stir up trouble. We need to unite against them,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

His views, however, were not supported by Vietnam, Cambodia and Japan.

Apart from the ongoing row in the South China Sea, Hanoi and Beijing share a history of bilateral friction, with the two Asian nations being locked in a war in 1979. Both sides had incurred massive casualties. China, however, failed in curbing Vietnam’s involvement in neighbouring Cambodia, which was the reason which had triggered the military conflict.

http://www.india.com/news/world/vietnam-acquiring-brahmos-missiles-from-india-likely-to-further-deteriorate-sino-indian-ties-2411055/

 

 

 

USMC FA-18s training with JASDF F-4s.

Joint-training between Japan and the US began on July 7th at JASDF's Hyakuri Air Base (Hyakuri, Omitamashi City, Ibaraki Prefecture). Hyakuri Air Base's 7th Air Wing and US Iwakuni Air Station's (Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture) Marine Aircraft Group 12 will jointly carry out an exercise in aerial combat. JASDF F-4 fighters and US FA-18 attack fighters will participate. ABout 140 personnel will be participating from the US.

On the 7th, past noon, the FA-18s that will be used in the exercise arrived at Hyakuri Air Base. Each of the base's units held up their flags and welcomed the greeted the USMC pilots.

The transfer of training is to improve the interoperability between the US military and the Self-Defense Force but also to reduce noise and impact of the training that occurs in the areas at all US bases throughout Japan. Joint-training at Hyakuri Air Base started in September 2015, with this time being the 8th time. The training will occur in an air space offshore from Hyakuri and will be carried out until the 21st, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays.


航空自衛隊百里基地(茨城県小美玉市百里)で7日、日米共同訓練が始まった。百里基地の第7航空団と米軍岩国基地(山口県岩国市)の第12海兵航空群が共同で空中戦などの演習を行う。空自のF4戦闘機、米軍のFA18戦闘攻撃機が参加する。米軍側の参加人員は約140人。

 7日昼過ぎには、演習に使われるFA18が百里基地に到着し、同基地の各部隊が旗を掲げて、米海兵隊のパイロットらを出迎えた。

 訓練移転は、自衛隊と米軍の相互運用性(インターオペラビリティー)の向上をはじめ、日本各地の米軍基地周辺で行われる訓練による騒音などの影響を軽減するために実施されている。百里基地で共同訓練が行われるのは平成27年9月以来で今回で8回目。訓練は百里沖空域で、土日祝日を除く21日まで行われる。

http://www.sankei.com/politics/news/170708/plt1707080029-n1.html

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Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017 - Primarily Australia and the US, but also New Zealand, Japan, and Canada.

http://www.defence.gov.au/Exercises/TS17/

http://australianaviation.com.au/2017/07/talisman-saber-2017-concludes/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esEDp9xl-6c

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Northern Viper 17

 

 

 

HOKKAIDO, Japan -- For the first time, more than 2,000 U.S. Marines joined with approximately 1,500 service members with the Japan Self-Defense Force to support the first iteration of Exercise Northern Viper 2017, at Misawa Air Base and the island of Hokkaido, Japan, August 10-28, 2017.

Northern Viper, an annual joint contingency exercise, tests the interoperability and bilateral capability of the JSDF and U.S. Marine Corps forces to work together across a variety of areas including peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. This exercise enhances and improves interoperability at the tactical level between the Marines and JSDF to keep the forces formidable and adaptive. NV17 showcases a highly-capable, forward-deployed U.S. military presence positioned with their Japanese partners to directly support the security of the Indo-Asia- Pacific region.

“We have Marines with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Marines with 3rd Marine Division and the JSDF all currently together to train here,” said Col. James F. Harp, the commanding officer of MAG-36, 1st MAW. “This exercise is strategically shaping our relationship with Japan.”

U.S. Marines with Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing will provide direct aerial support to the Marines of 3rd Marine Division and JSDF with a variety of aircraft.

“The mission for 1st MAW Marines here is to have the opportunity to train outside of Okinawa,” said Maj. Eric M. Landblom, MAG-36 exercise operations officer. “The government of Japan allows us the freedom to come and train in other locations. We also have good partnerships with the Air Force and Navy installations to allow us to do this type of training.”

According to Landblom, the squadrons attached to 1st MAW will conduct various training operations, such as assault support missions, simulated offensive air support and simulated casualty evacuations in Hokkaido.

“We have ranges here that we don’t have in Okinawa,” said Sgt. Maj. Marvin M. Magcale, the group sergeant major for MAG-36. “We can utilize the ranges in Hokkaido in ways we couldn’t back in Okinawa. There are ranges nearby for our aircraft to train and conduct live fires by air.”

During the exercise, 3rd Marine Division mission will be on Hokkaido as the bilateral partner with JSDF’s Northern Army 11th Brigade, said Landblom.

“They will do functional training where they train to learn from each other,” said Landblom. “After, they will do comprehensive training, which we will take what they learned from each other and conduct a force on force operation where they work together to defeat a common enemy.”

Designed to integrate the U.S. Marine Corps with the JSDF, Northern Viper allows Marines to identify their weaknesses in order to avoid them in the future, making this exercise a valuable asset to maintaining readiness in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

“This exercise is extremely important because we have very limited opportunities to come together with our Japanese counterparts in a large scale to conduct this type of training,” said Harp. “We need to continue training like this to better protect the region from its adversaries.”

http://www.marines.mil/News/News-Display/Article/1276037/northern-viper-kicks-off-for-the-first-time-ever/

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