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Exercise Keen Sword 21 enhances U.S.-Japan Alliance

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – Units attached to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) and the Japan Self-Defense Force completed exercise Keen Sword 21 (KS21), Nov. 5, on military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa prefecture, and their surrounding waters.

The joint-bilateral field training exercise (FTX), including forces from the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps, enhanced Japan-U.S. combat readiness and interoperability. The FTX included maritime operations, amphibious landings, air operations, resupply efforts, integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) exercises, cyber and space operations, and base security events.

“Keen Sword was a tremendous success with respect to operating and integrating with our allies,” said Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, commander, U.S. Forces Japan. “By learning from and working alongside each other, not only did we improve our joint and bilateral capabilities, we once again demonstrated our unwavering resolve to the U.S.-Japan Alliance, which has been the foundation of peace, stability, and security in the Indo-Pacific region for the past 60 years.”

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The Navy suffered four Class A aviation mishaps last month

An unmanned MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter clipped a building and crashed last month at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu in California, one of at least four so-called “Class A” mishaps to take place within Navy aviation in the month of August.

Class A is the most-severe mishap level and generally involves at least $1 million in damage, or the loss of life or serious injury.

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Navy harnessing new technology to restructure aviation training

The Navy is incorporating new technologies into its aviation training curriculum, from hand-held devices to full simulators, to better train airmen to fly and fight their aircraft.

Speaking at a panel over the weekend at the Tailhook Association’s online symposium, service officials touted the use of live, virtual and constructive (LVC) training and said the Navy is working to embed the methods into its pilot training program.

“We are undergoing modernization across the board, and one of the key pillars of that is to leverage the new technology that is out there in the market,” Rear Adm. Robert Westendorff, the chief of naval air training (CNATRA), told the panel.

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