Japan, US, South Korea Hold Missile Defense Drill

January 25, 2017

The Diplomat:

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN), and U.S. Navy (USN) concluded a three-day naval exercise off the Korean peninsula on January 22, Yonhap News Agency reports.

The three-day naval exercise was kicked off on Friday, January 20 and involved three Aegis system-equipped guided missile destroyers. The so-called Aegis combat system is an automated command-and-control (C2) and weapons control system offering integrated air and missile defense capabilities to surface warships.

The aim of the military drill was to boost JMSDF, ROKN, and USN capabilities to detect and trace incoming North Korean missiles.  The exercise comes amid steady advances in North Korea’s ballistic missile programs and growing signs that Pyongyang is ready to test-fire its first intercontinental ballistic missile.

The major emphasis of the missile defense drill was on the timely acquisition and sharing of data among the three navies. Similar to previous exercises a fighter jet stood in for the missile. According to a U.S. Naval Forces Korea spokesperson no missiles were fired from the Aegis-equipped ships.

“The U.S. Navy continually seeks every occasion to strengthen relationships and interoperability with participating allies and partners, while further developing maritime capabilities and capacity,” the spokesperson said in a statement quoted by Stars and Stripes on January 21.

According to Stars and Stripes, the JMSDF participated with the Kongo-class JS Kirishima guided missile destroyer, one of only six Aegis-equipped destroyers currently in service with the JMSDF. South Korea dispatched a Sejong the Great-class multi-purpose destroyer, and the United States sent the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stethem…

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