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US, Japan Conduct Pacific Aerial Defense Exercise

The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and US Air Force recently deployed a total of 52 aircraft for a bilateral aerial exercise in the Pacific.

The July 6 exercise was held to “improve JMSDF [Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force]’s tactical capabilities and interoperability between Japan-US Alliance,” according to a Japanese Ministry of Defense press release

The drill involved 29 planes, 20 JASDF fighter jets, two US Air Force warplanes, and a single patrol plane from the US Navy Patrol. The same set was also present in succeeding drills on July 11 and 12 over the Pacific, the Sea of Japan, and the East China Sea, Nikkei Asia reported.

The US Navy and Maritime Self-Defense Force also deployed vessels near Japan’s southwestern islands concurrently with air defense drills.

The bilateral exercise was part of a series of drills that started in February. It coincided with the “Quad group” summit of the US, Japan, India, and Australia.

When the drill commenced, several warships from China and Russia were spotted near Japanese waters, but no contact or intrusion occurred during the maneuvers.

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