Australian, Canadian forces join U.S. counterparts for Fleet Synthetic Training

10 December 2020

From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

Joint U.S. forces joined Royal Australian Navy, and Royal Canadian Navy and Air Force units in the virtual exercise.
Lt. Zack Lukens, from Port Charlotte, Fla., assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, serves as the Sea Combat tactical watch stander during Fleet Synthetic Training - Joint (FST-J) exercise aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). FST-J is a week-long exercise that brings together multiple units from across the globe to train together in a virtual environment. As the U.S. Navy's largest forward deployed fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates between 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors. 7th Fleet's area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South Pacific, providing security and stability to the region. 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security while conducting a wide-range of missions to support humanitarian efforts and uphold international laws and freedoms of the sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Askia Collins. This photo has been altered for security purposes.)
Lt. Zack Lukens, assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, serves as a sea combat tactical watch stander during Fleet Synthetic Training - Joint (FST-J) exercise aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Dec. 3 (U.S. Navy/MC2 Askia Collins)
Lt. Zack Lukens, from Port Charlotte, Fla., assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, serves as the Sea Combat tactical watch stander during Fleet Synthetic Training - Joint (FST-J) exercise aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). FST-J is a week-long exercise that brings together multiple units from across the globe to train together in a virtual environment. As the U.S. Navy's largest forward deployed fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates between 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors. 7th Fleet's area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South Pacific, providing security and stability to the region. 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security while conducting a wide-range of missions to support humanitarian efforts and uphold international laws and freedoms of the sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Askia Collins. This photo has been altered for security purposes.)
201203-N-YQ181-1005
Lt. Zack Lukens, assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, serves as a sea combat tactical watch stander during Fleet Synthetic Training - Joint (FST-J) exercise aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Dec. 3 (U.S. Navy/MC2 Askia Collins)
Photo By: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Askia Collins
VIRIN: 201203-N-YQ181-1005

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - U.S. military forces partnered with Australian and Canadian military units for a Fleet Synthetic Training – Joint Exercise (FST-J) that began Dec. 3.

The weeklong virtual exercise included participants from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Army; as well as units from the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force. These units are located throughout the United States, Japan, Canada, and Australia.

"Exercises like FST-J strengthen the teamwork between our U.S., allied, and partner militaries," said Rear Adm. Will Pennington, commander, Carrier Strike Group 5. "The complex virtual scenarios probe future security challenges in the Indo-Pacific and allow us to leverage the collective experience of our joint and international team. Smart technology reduces costs and expands the problem set that we examine. It was especially useful this year in reducing risk within the COVID-19 environment."

The synthetic nature of FST-J provides significant team-building between units and staffs in a dynamic environment without the need to get ships and Sailors underway. The training also reduces the complex logistics involved in live exercises and allows for intricate and demanding tactical and operational scenarios. Limiting factors in live exercises such as weather conditions, range restrictions, and opposing force sizes are fully customizable in the virtual space, allowing teams to focus on specific challenges throughout the training.

“To be able to fight an Australian warship to her full potential in a synthetic domain alongside our American and Canadian partners is a fantastic way to refine our shared skills and complementary capabilities,” said Capt. Pete Bartlett, director, Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Force Generation directorate. “HMAS Parramatta embedded in the USS America Expeditionary Strike Group earlier this year, and it is events such as FST-J which enabled the RAN to seamlessly integrate into U.S. Navy strike groups.”

Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Tyler  Davis, from Lemoore Calif., assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, serves as the Sea Combat tactical watch stander during Fleet Synthetic Training - Joint (FST-J) exercise aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). FST-J is a week-long exercise that brings together multiple units from across the globe to train together in a virtual environment. As the U.S. Navy's largest forward deployed fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates between 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors. 7th Fleet's area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South Pacific, providing security and stability to the region. 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security while conducting a wide-range of missions to support humanitarian efforts and uphold international laws and freedoms of the sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Askia Collins. This photo has been altered for security purposes.)
201203-N-YQ181-1008 DESRON 15's Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Tyler Davis stands a sea combat tactical watch aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during the exercise. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Askia Collins)
SLIDESHOW | 1 images | 201203-N-YQ181-1008 DESRON 15's Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Tyler Davis stands a sea combat tactical watch aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during the exercise. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Askia Collins)

Due to its virtual nature, FST-J is particularly well-suited for training in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“FST-J provides a valuable opportunity to build and test the tactical expertise of geographically separated units during the challenges presented by COVID-19,” said Commodore Richard Feltham, Commander Canadian Fleet Atlantic. “A virtual exercise such as FST-J is the perfect way to strengthen our commitment to upholding global security and prosperity while keeping our military and community safe and healthy.”

Tactical Training Group Pacific (TTGP), located in San Diego, is facilitating the FST-J, providing the virtual architecture and distributed training environment to participants.

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