The Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the US Armed Forces have begun a tactical exercise вЂњSharp SwordвЂќ to land on remote islands, Jiji Press reported on October 26.
The exercises were held in southwestern Japan in Kagoshima Prefecture. According to the plan, the rapid reaction teams will go to the remote Tokara Islands in the East China Sea to repel the alleged enemy. This will be the first such landing on Gadzyadzima Island.
The exercise involves Bell V-22 Osprey series tiltrotors based at the US Air Force Base in Yokota, near Tokyo. The aircraft successfully landed on a helicopter destroyer of the Japanese SDF naval unit in the west of the country and delivered the Chief of Staff of the Joint Self-Defense Forces Koji Yamazaki, along with the commander of the US military in Japan, Kevin Schneider, to the exercise area.
Recall that the disputed Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands located in the East China Sea are claimed by Japan and China. The situation escalated after the acquisition of territories by the Japanese government from a private owner in 2012. Since then, China has periodically sent its patrol ships to the region, which demonstratively enter the waters of the archipelago.
To defend against the threat of attack on the outlying islands, the Ministry of Defense has created a unit of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, which should, if necessary, transfer a rapid response team to the area of exacerbation. For work, it was proposed to use Osprey, tiltrotors the first batch of which the ministry received in May 2020.
However, the distance between the current location of the base of these aircraft to the disputed islands exceeds 1000 km, while the range of the laden V-22 is 722 km. In this regard, the rapid response team will need to stop for refueling en route to the place of conflict.