US Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) have started the annual bilateral Guam Exercise (Guamex) off the coast of Guam, an island owned by the US in Micronesia.
Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 guided-missile destroyers, USS Mustin (DDG 89) and USS McCampbell (DDG 85) from the US Navy, and more than six ships from the JMSDF are participating in the exercise that began on Tuesday.
Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), EA-18G Growlers, and a submarine are the other maritime assets present at the event.
On the first day, the vessels participated in tactical anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare exercises.
Commanding officer of USS McCampbell Ed Sundberg said: "Our relationship with Japan is grounded in at-sea operations that we conduct with the JMSDF throughout the region.
"It is critical that we learn from each other, so we can continue to improve each country’s tactical expertise and response."
The exercise is aimed at providing a training environment, fostering mutual understanding of the country’s military tactics, communication protocols and procedures. Bilateral training exercises are also expected to fortify US and Japan integrity, enhancing its defense capabilities.
Following Guamex, the US will conduct the annual Cope North military exercises in Guam, with participation from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Korea.
The 2016 event will be held from the 10 to 26 February, and will be hosted by the Andersen Air Force Base, reported Pacific Daily News.
Cope North Guam seeks to enhance tactical combat skills and joint response capabilities of the participating countries.
Image: Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell shoots an MK 45 5-inch lightweight gun during a live-fire exercise. US Navy photo by Ensign Soon Kwon.