Michael Fabey, Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, Mar 5
U.S. and Japan naval forces participated in a four-day Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint (FST-J) exercise in late February for ballistic missile defense (BMD) operations.
FST-J provided training to personnel from Commander, Task Force 70, U.S. Army and Air Force and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) in strike force level proficiency, operations, joint interoperability and mission rehearsal for ships, aviation, and submarine simulators, U.S. Navy officials say.
"This is a joint and bilateral synthetic training exercise," says Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Moore, CTF 70’s BMD officer. "We’re working very closely with our regional ally, Japan, and are currently practicing and conducting our periodic certifications of BMD tactics, techniques and procedures in a realistic, multi-warfare environment."
Training exercises are conducted using models and simulations to replicate real-world command and control systems, which allow units to develop operator-level proficiency and validation of tactics, techniques and procedures before they have to participate in real-world events or joint training exercises, U.S. officials note.
"FST-J provides an excellent opportunity for Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) and U.S. forces to operate in a complex and multi-warfare tactical environment," says Lt. Weston Ford, BMD officer aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer DDG 56 USS John S. McCain. "Ultimately, this will enhance our bilateral relations and interoperability between the U.S. and JSDF when defending against hostile threats."
The U.S. and Japanese forces encountered computer-generated environmental conditions, political state of affairs and foreign military provocations without having to operate at sea, U.S. officials say.
"In the past, FST-J training has been more focused on executing the BMD mission from a ship’s perspective," Moore says. "We have expanded BMD training this year to include as many of the players who we have to interact with when we execute an actual mission."
FST-J enables the Navy and its allies in different geographical areas to gain efficiencies at sea by conducting training exercises and synthetic pierside scenarios, and plays a vital role in the qualification, readiness and interoperability of the strike group and its host nation.
"Synthetic training provides us the unique opportunity to fully exercise not only our shipboard capabilities, but the combined capabilities of the U.S. and Japan bilateral force," says Cmdr. Chad Graham, John S. McCain’s executive officer.