The U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corp recently took part in Valiant Shield 2018, a biennial exercise run by Indo-Pacific Command meant to test the joint force’s ability to conduct operations in the region.
In alignment while using U.S. transition to some security strategy predicated over a return to great power competition, Valiant Shield 2018 involved multiple operation drills and enabled soldiers to “train side-by-side in a sea environment,” said exercise director Rear Admiral Daniel Dwyer.
“In any future conflict, no service should go alone,” Dwyer said. “Any opportunity that allies can come together to teach being a joint force causes us to become that much more lethal and capable.”
Participants included the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, five surface ships, a lot more than 160 aircraft and approximately 15,000 personnel.
Based in the waters from the Marianas Island Range Complex and also on Guam, the exercise was headed by Army Lt. Col. Joe Hansen, Multi-Domain Task Force commander with the 17th Field Artillery Brigade. Hansen developed three priorities for the exercise: to validate and improve communication systems and architecture; facilitate and integrate artillery capabilities in the Indo-Pacific maritime environment; and inform and improve upon the multiple operational discussion.
Participants practiced some skills before the exercise began, as more than 3,000 Guam-based and visiting units were re-tasked to help you civil authorities responding to Typhoon Mangkhut, which delayed the exercise.
“The U.S. military is not a fair-weather force,” Dwyer said. “We’ll fight in different conditions, 24 hours a day. This is just real-world operational training for us. It has been great to the crews to adapt, overcome, plan and execute. I am incredibly proud with the joint force uniting.”
During the exercise U.S. forces tested a variety of capabilities including maritime security operations, amphibious operations, and anti-submarine and air-defense exercises. A new shallow-mine capability was tested to the first time while using Joint Direct Attack Munition along with the updated Quickstrike precision mine by B-52 bombers of the Air Force’s 96th Bomb Squadron alongside the Navy’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft of Patrol Squadron Five.
“In earlier times, the mines were dropped by gravity weapons, therefore the B-52s and bombers had to be low to meet their accuracy,” said Air Force Capt. Craig Quinnett, Quickstrike’s B-52 test lead. “With Joint Direct Attack Munition and the Quickstrike extended-range weapon, we now have the ability to deploy precision mines coming from a standoff role, which provides us an enormous capability.”
At the finish from the drills, the joint forces executed a sink exercise to discover, fix, target and finish a target at sea. “SINKEX provides that opportunity to do an end-to-end test individuals joint capabilities,” Dwyer said.