The US Navy’s Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) Carrier Strike Group (RRCSG) has kicked off Annual Exercise 16 (AE16) with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

The bilateral field-training exercise aims to enhance interoperability between the US Navy and JMSDF, while strengthening bilateral relationships.

AE16 provides the participating forces with the ability to practise and assess the coordination and tactics that allow them to mutually respond to help defend their nations when required or to tackle a regional contingency.

" This exercise demonstrates our continuing commitment to deepening our mutual support and friendship."

RRCSG commander rear admiral John Alexander said: "The annual exercise underscores the strength of the close, long-standing relationship the US has with Japan and the JMSDF.

"This exercise demonstrates our continuing commitment to deepen our mutual support and friendship."

During the exercise, the US and JMSDF units will perform maritime training in the air, surface and subsurface warfare areas.

The US assets that will take part in the exercise include Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), the guided-missile destroyers USS Benfold (DDG 65) and USS Mustin (DDG 89), maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, and a US submarine.

Alexander added: "The US-Japan relationship remains the most important key to the security, stability, peace and prosperity of the Pacific region in the 21st century.

"Our two navies and nations working together demonstrate our combined resolve to ensure a bright future."