WASHINGTON – The US Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps recently participated in Valiant Shield 2018, a biennial exercise led by the Indo-Pacific Command designed to test the ability of the joint force to conduct operations in the region.
In line with the United States’ transition to a security strategy based on a return to competition from the great powers, Valiant Shield 2018 involved multi-domain operations exercises and allowed soldiers to “train side-by-side at the highest level. level in an at-sea environment, âsaid Exercise Director Rear Adm. Daniel Dwyer.
âIn any future conflict, no service will stand alone,â Dwyer said. “Any opportunity we can come together to train as a joint force makes us all the more lethal and capable.”
Participants included the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, five surface ships, more than 160 aircraft and approximately 15,000 people.
Based in the waters of the Marianas Island Range Complex and Guam, the exercise was led by Army Lt. Col. Joe Hansen, the Multidomain Task Force Commander of the 17th Field Artillery Brigade. Hansen identified three priorities for the exercise: validating and improving communication systems and architecture; facilitate and integrate artillery capabilities into the Indo-Pacific maritime environment; and inform and improve the multidomain operational discussion.
Participants practiced some of these skills before the exercise began, as more than 3,000 visiting Guam-based units were reassigned to assist civilian authorities in response to Typhoon Mangkhut, which delayed the exercise.
âThe US military is not a fair weather force,â Dwyer said. âWe will fight in all conditions, day and night. This is just real world operational training for us. It was great for the crews to adapt, overcome, plan and execute. I am incredibly proud that the joint force is coming together. “
During the exercise, U.S. forces tested a range of capabilities, including maritime security operations, amphibious operations, and anti-submarine and air defense exercises. A new shallow mine capability was first tested with Joint Direct Attack Ammunition and the updated Quickstrike Precision Mine by B-52 bombers from the Air Force 96 Bomb Squadron alongside Patrol Squadron Five’s Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. .
âIn the past, mines were dropped by gravity weapons, so B-52s and bombers had to be low to achieve accuracy,â said Air Force Captain Craig Quinnett, B-test manager. -52 from Quickstrike. “With the Joint Direct Attack Ammunition and the Quickstrike Extended Range Weapon, we have the ability to deploy precision mines from a standby role, which gives us tremendous capability.”
At the end of the exercises, the Joint Forces performed a descent exercise to find, fix, target and terminate a target at sea. “SINKEX gives us this opportunity to do an end-to-end test of our joint capabilities,” said Dwyer.
Daniel Cebul is senior editor and general assignments editor for Defense News, C4ISRNET, Fifth Domain, and Federal Times.