MELBOURNE, Australia — Japan and South Korea conducted missile and rocket launches on Australian soil over the weekend for the first time during a multinational military exercise also involving the United States.
Japan fired a Type 03 medium-range surface-to-air missile, or Chu-SAM, during a demonstration at the Shoalwater Bay training area, while South Korea fired rockets from a K239 Chunmoo artillery rocket system at the same event.
Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force also fired an inert Type 12 truck-launched anti-ship missile from the Beecroft Weapons Range near Jervis Bay, south of Sydney, in a separate event on Friday.
Australian Army Brigadier General. Damian Hill, who led Exercise Talisman Sabre, said the exercises serve as an opportunity to train together with allies and regional partners.
“This is Japan’s largest participation ever in Exercise Talisman Saber and further enhances interoperability between our military forces,” Hill said.
Major Shinchiro Senzaki of the Japanese ground force supported the successful launch of a Type 12 missile, adding that the country’s participation in the Talisman Saber “strengthens the trust and relationship between Australia and Japan”.
Japan’s contingent in the exercise also included more than 1,500 personnel and three ships of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, including the JS Izumo. This helicopter destroyer was recently converted to handle fixed-wing fighter aircraft, although she only carried helicopters for this exercise.
Other weapons participating in the show of firepower at Shoalwater Bay included the US Marine Corps’ M142 High Mobility Artillery Missile Systems, Australia’s M777A2 towed howitzers and South Korea’s K9 Thunder tracking artillery systems.
Australia had selected the K9 to meet its requirements for self-propelled howitzers, with plans to acquire 45, plus the associated AS10 ammunition carriers.
This year’s exercise will see 30,000 people from 13 nations take part in the two-week biennial event, which runs until August 4. A wide range of capabilities will take part — from aircraft carriers to special forces.
According to the Australian Department of Defense, other participants include Fiji, France, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany, with the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand participating as observers.
Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News.
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