TOKYO, (BM) – In the background of the ongoing US-Japanese military exercises with the participation of the Canadian ship, assurances were made that Washington was supporting the Japanese position around the disputed Senkaku islands. The Americans thus strongly emphasize allied obligations in the context of regional disputes with China, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.
The Americans strongly express their opinions on the possibility of supporting Japan in the event of disputes around the Senkaku islands. General Kevin Schneider, the commander of the US forces in the country, was to point out that the currently initiated international military exercises are to show the possibility of deploying troops to defend the islands, as well as responding to various crises. Keen Sword 21 maneuvers, as we are talking about them, are to take place from Monday to November 5 and are conducted periodically.
However, this year, the aforementioned American general also pointed out that despite the effects of the pandemic, such ventures demonstrate the power of military cooperation between the United States and Japan. His speech on Monday was delivered shortly after he was transported to one of the Japanese helicopter maneuvers. Interestingly, Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider and on the Japanese side Gen. Koji Yamazaki were transferred to JS Kaga using the CV-22 Osprey, belonging to the US Air Force.
In general, the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier combat group and over 100 American combat aircraft of various types, and a total of about 170 aircraft, are to participate in the activities. A team of approximately 20 ships of various types will operate at sea. Combined actions of sea, air and land contingents are to be practiced. In addition, separate land contingents are to be added.
The American side is to be represented by about 9 thousand. US servicemen from four types of troops – US Navy, US Air Force, US Army and US Marine Corps. The Japanese want to engage over 37,000. the personnel of the Self-Defense Forces. It is assumed that the Canadian frigate will also participate in the exercises. These will be the first combined military maneuvers since the new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took power.
It should be remembered that the Senkaku discharges mentioned at the beginning are the place of many years of dispute between Japan and China. The Chinese side uses the name Diaoyu, hence in various sources we can meet the term Senkaku / Diaoyu island. To be precise, it refers to a group of small, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. However, the key factor in their case is their very position, especially in the current relations with China and their attitude towards Taiwan.
Therefore, all details of the maneuvers are widely reported by the Chinese media. The Americans had previously strongly supported the Japanese side in discussing Senkaku’s affiliation. Pointing out that the support may include reconnaissance and intelligence issues. However, it may well apply to transportation capabilities and other aspects of military support when needed.
It should also be noted that this is only the “season opening” for military maneuvers in this region of the world. Soon the Malabar exercises are to be started, the arena of which will be the Indian Ocean. The Chinese are also to carry out maneuvers of an unknown scale in the Bohai Sea and the Yellow Sea.
Japan and US unite against China and Russia
The governments of Japan and the United States will work together to prepare a missile detection and tracking system using numerous small satellites. They will be launched into an orbit with an altitude of 300-1000 kilometers, where they will conduct observation and be used to destroy targets. China, Russia and North Korea are planning to adopt new missiles that change the trajectory of flight. It is assumed that the existing Japanese-American air defense system will be difficult to cope with such missiles. The system should be operational around 2025.
The security situation near Japan is escalating. In 2020, China’s defense budget increased 6.6% year-over-year, reaching an all-time high of approximately 19 trillion yen. China has about 2,000 medium-range missiles within the range of which Japan is. Now it has several hundred nuclear warheads, but in the next ten years their number will more than double.
China’s strategy is to disperse other countries and strengthen its maritime presence with a missile threat. Beijing missiles upset the military balance in East Asia and strengthens diplomatic capabilities. The DPRK has several hundred Nodong medium-range missiles. It also reduces the size of nuclear warheads. Long-range missiles and nuclear weapons are a diplomatic trump card in the game with the United States.
These are all parabolic ballistic missiles. Their flight path is easy to determine. Japan and the United States have developed a system for detecting such missiles using satellites and radars, as well as their destruction, thus strengthening the defensive power. But the problem is that China, Russia and the DPRK are developing new missiles that can bypass the Japanese-American air defense system. China and Russia are testing supersonic types that change trajectory and fly at an altitude lower than ballistic missiles. The DPRK is also developing variable-trajectory missiles.
It is difficult for ordinary satellites, located at an altitude of 36 thousand kilometers, and ground-based radars to detect and shoot them down. A situation may arise in which the air defense system becomes incapacitated, and the containment of China becomes ineffective. Japan and the United States intend to detect and track new rockets from orbit closer to Earth. The United States has prepared a project for Earth observation with more than a thousand small satellites. Of these, about 200 will be equipped with infrared sensors to detect heat sources. They will be used for missile defense. Japan will take part in this project.
According to the US plan, the costs will be more than one trillion yen. It took tens of billions of yen to build and launch one conventional satellite. One small satellite will cost about 500 million yen. Due to the closer placement of multiple satellites to the Earth, the information obtained will become more accurate. Japan will develop sensors and also help reduce the size of satellites. It may also bear partial costs of building a satellite network near its borders.
The small satellite network will also include optical telescopes and a positioning system. It will track not only satellites, but also ships, aircraft and the movement of ground forces. This will make it easier to track China in the Senkaku area. The exchange of information between Japan and the United States will become even more active, and the security strategy against China will be richer. Earlier, the Japanese government proposed a project to use small satellites to obtain information on space debris, weather and natural disasters. If an agreement with the United States is reached, these ideas can be applied in the field of security.
Already in 2022, the United States plans to begin testing a system of 30 satellites. Japan will include in the draft budget for 2021 the costs of developing infrared sensors. Connection to the existing missile defense system will increase the accuracy of intercepting new missiles. Japan lags behind in the area of space defense. As of February this year, it had only 14 defense satellites, the US 128, China 109, and Russia 106. China and Russia are increasing the number of killer satellites that disable other satellites and anti-satellite missiles. The advantage of having a large number of satellites will be that problems with one satellite can be covered at the expense of others.
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