PACIFIC OCEAN - Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) personnel assigned to Escort Flotilla Three and U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to Task Force 70 and the George Washington Strike Group collaborated on anti-submarine warfare techniques during Annual Exercise (AE) 2011, Oct. 28.
AE11 is a weeklong bi-lateral naval exercise conducted in the waters off the coast of Okinawa, Japan and allows the United States and Japan to practice and evaluate the coordination procedures and interoperability elements required to effectively and mutually respond to the defense of Japan, to a regional crisis or contingency situation in the Asia-Pacific region.
“I’m very happy to be aboard George Washington and to participate in this year’s annual exercise,” said Capt. Fumihiko Tsukada, Commander, Escort Flotilla Three (CCF3) Chief of Staff. “We are currently learning how to protect our high value targets against enemy submarines and are also increasing the interoperability between the U.S. Navy and the JMSDF.”
Tsukada’s role aboard George Washington is to coordinate between the JMSDF and the U.S. Navy in support of the large and complex exercise that involves maritime training in all three of the air, surface and subsurface battle spaces in support of the defense of Japan.
For the JMSDF, the real asset gained is the experience they get from Destroyer Squadron 15 and the ability to share vital information openly between sea partners said Tsukada.
“We are now able to do some really neat things with coordination between surface and sub-surface ships that weren’t possible when I first began my career,” said Senior Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Jason Madott, AE11’s assistant joint-interface control officer aboard George Washington. “We have advanced systems that allow us to share radar information with each other to paint a very detailed and shared picture to fight a war if needed.”
“We can pick up with our equipment submarines, aircraft or surface ships and put that data on a common operating picture so our commanders can work together to make the proper decisions to maintain sea superiority,” said Madott.
Tsukada participated in Keen Sword in 2010 and had the opportunity to see the display of sea power projection from one of the JMSDF ships.
“This year I am looking forward to seeing the view from George Washington’s Signal Bridge; I’ll see an impressive view of all the ships,” said Tsukada.
In addition to George Washington, other U.S. ships participating include the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Dewey (DDG 98), USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Stethem (DDG 63) and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108); the amphibious ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46); mine countermeasure ships USS Guardian (MCM 5) and USS Patriot (MCM 7); and maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and U.S. submarines.