US Navy (USN) and Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) units conducted a bilateral advanced warfighting training (BAWT) exercise on 1-6 March, according to a 5 March statement from US Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15.

Held annually, BAWT seeks to improve US-Japanese relations: this year’s exercise concentrated on enhancing readiness and interoperability, with a special focus on coordinating strategies and tactics in an all-domain environment. "Every opportunity we have to sharpen our combined lethality with the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force is invaluable to our forward-deployed forces," stated Capt Chase Sargeant, commander of Destroyer Squadron 15. "Exercises like BAWT reinforce the strength of our alliance and serve to bolster regional security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region."

Participants in BAWT 2021 included USS JOHN S McCAIN, USS BENFOLD, JS ISE, JS SHIRANUI, JS HARUSAME, and several support ships. “Bilateral exercises such as BAWT 2021 always help us improve our tactical skills and the interoperability between the JMSDF and the US Navy,” commented Capt Yosuke Inaba, commander of Escort Division Six.

Training exercises such as BAWT 2021 help develop regional capabilities that provide layered defensive options aimed at protecting joint interests and those of allies and partners – ranging from maritime security operations to more complex anti-submarine and air defence exercises – demonstrating the inherent flexibility of the combined forces.

BAWT used realistic, shared training scenarios to enhance participants’ abilities to work together to confront any contingency. BAWT prepares forces to provide the ready, credible deterrence that stabilises the Indo-Pacific, and promotes peace and prosperity for all nations throughout the region.

DESRON 15 is the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and US 7th Fleet’s principal surface force.

A JMSDF SH-60 SEAHAWK landing on USS BENFOLD in the Philippines Sea during BAWT 2021 on 4 March. (Photo: USN/SPC2 Deanna E Gonzales)

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