April 23, 2014, MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan – Marines with Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, hosted Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members with the 15th Anti-aircraft Artillery Regiment who showcased new air-defense equipment April 16 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
The event afforded the Marines, alongside U.S. Army soldiers with 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment and U.S. Air Force airmen with the 18th Wing, the opportunity to learn about the new equipment firsthand.
“We received a demonstration on the low-altitude, short-range air-defense capability that the JGSDF can provide for real-world operations,” said Marine 1st Lt. Louis D. Kim, an air-defense control officer with Marine Air Control Squadron 4, MACG-18, 1st MAW, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “They want to tie (these capabilities) into future bilateral exercises.”
The 15th AAR display included a P-14 surveillance radar, air-defense command and control system, and a command and control center assigned to the Headquarters and Service Company. Along with the control systems, the JGSDF members staged a Type 03 middle-range surface-to-air missile and Type 11 short-range SAM from their anti-aircraft artillery companies.
JGSDF Capt. Keisuke Yamada, a liaison with the 15th AAR, gave the guests a brief description of each system before the JGSDF members provided a demonstration of the capabilities.
“Today, we brought radars and launchers,” said Yamada. “First is the TAN-SAM: one radar, two launchers; the CHU-SAM: one radar, four launchers, with loaders, and a command and control post.”
The event was one of the few occasions where U.S. service members with an air-defense background received the chance to observe JGSDF equipment and meet with their JGSDF air-defense counterparts.
“These are outstanding systems,” said Marine Capt. Joshua N. Anderson, the Low-Altitude Air Defense detachment officer in charge. “I’m in love with their short-range system. They have a lot of new equipment. It’s great stuff.”
The JGSDF members believe that events like these are important to the ongoing mission to strengthen military cooperation between the U.S. and Japan in accordance with the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, according to Yamada
“I believe we and (the U.S. forces) have a good, mutual understanding,” said Yamada.