Trilateral ballistic missile defense exercise concludes off Hawaii

USS Paul Jones was one of the ships participating in exercise Pacific Dragon. Photo: US Navy

Exercise Pacific Dragon, the third biennial drill between U.S., Japan and Republic of Korea navies, took place from June 20 to 28 off the coast of the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, Hawaii.

The trilateral ballistic missile defense (BMD) tracking event focuses on improving tactical and technical coordination among its participants, including the detection, tracking and reporting of ballistic targets.

Pacific Dragon 2016 active participants included the Pacific Missile Range Facility, USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), USS Shoup (DDG 86), JS Chokai (DDG 176), ROKS Sejung The Great (DDG 991) and ROKS Gang Gam Chan (DDH 979).

“Pacific Dragon not only allows participants the opportunity to exercise ballistic missile defense but it enhances the already strong relationship of all three nations participating,” said Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet.

This year featured a coordinated live ballistic target tracking event where each nation’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System capabilities were tested and improved. All participants shared tactical data link information in accordance with a trilateral information sharing agreement.

While there were no missiles fired, all participants strengthened interoperability, communication channels, data collection, and capabilities assessments.

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