USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), USS Shoup (DDG 86), JS Chokai (DDG 176), ROKS Sejung the Great (DDG 991) and ROKS Gang Gam Chan (DDH 979) maneuver into formation during exercise Pacific Dragon, June 25. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Siobhana R. McEwen)

KAUAI, Hawaii - Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet is wrapping up the third biennial exercise Pacific Dragon from June 20-28 off the coast of the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, Hawaii.

Pacific Dragon is a trilateral ballistic missile defense (BMD) tracking event between the U.S. Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy. The biennial exercise focuses on improving tactical and technical coordination among its participants, including the detection, tracking and reporting of ballistic targets.

Pacific Dragon 2016 active participants included the Pacific Missile Range Facility, USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), USS Shoup (DDG 86), JS Chokai (DDG 176), ROKS Sejung The Great (DDG 991) and ROKS Gang Gam Chan (DDH 979).

“Pacific Dragon not only allows participants the opportunity to exercise ballistic missile defense but it enhances the already strong relationship of all three nations participating,” said Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet.

This year featured a coordinated live ballistic target tracking event where each nation's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System capabilities were tested and improved. All participants shared tactical data link information in accordance with a trilateral information sharing agreement.

While there were no missiles fired, all participants strengthened interoperability, communication channels, data collection, and capabilities assessments.

This trilateral exercise strengthens relationships with participating allies and partners while further developing maritime regional BMD capability and capacity. The ability to work together at sea, especially on aspects such as BMD, humanitarian relief as well as search and rescue operations, benefits the shared security interests of all three nations. This type of maritime cooperation enhances security, stability and peace throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

In this file photo, Pearl Harbor-based USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), the nation's ballistic missile defense test ship, departs Joint Base Pearl-Harbor-Hickam for an at-sea period. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Nardel Gervacio)