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US Forces, Australian Defence Force Complete Fleet Synthetic Training

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS160429-06
Release Date: 4/29/2016 1:14:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sara B. Sexton, Commander Task Force 70 Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Commander, Task Force 70 units, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 units, Army and Air Force assets and units from the Australian Defence Forces participated in a Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint exercise 16-72, April 29.

FST-J is a computer-based synthetic training that allows geographically separated units to integrate in a tactically and operationally demanding virtual environment.

"This FST-J exercise is conducted according to 7th Fleet requirements to ensure the units are current on their training and certification," said Capt. Richard Haidvogel, commanding officer of Tactical Training Group, Pacific. "Ultimately the goal of these exercises is to improve interoperability with our joint partners and allies."

FST-J 16-72 is a multiplatform scenario designed to integrate air, land, and sea units.

Participating units in FST-J 16-72 include USS Antietam (CG 67), USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Benfold (DDG 65), USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), USS Curtis Wilber (DDG 54), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Mustin (DDG 89), USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Shiloh (CG 67), USS Stethem (DDG 63), DESRON 15 personnel, units from USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, units from the Australian Air Defence Force, Australian Maritime Defence Force, and a number of other units from the United States armed forces.

"The benefit of conducting this exercise on multiplatforms is that it's a 'dress rehearsal' that prepares us for deployment," said Lt. Cmdr. Craig McDonald, CTF 70 joint interface control officer. "We have the ability to flex our tactics, techniques and procedures with all of the other commands."

The various units worked together for more than a week, operating under a synthetic simulation environment designed to mimic warfighting in a "peer threat" environment.

"The purpose of this exercise is to get our joint players, the Command Task Forces in the area along with our other allies and units, to simulate any threats that might occur in the area and stimulate our systems to ensure that they are working effectively," said Haidvogel.

Synthetic training exercises such as FST-J improve the capabilities of the interoperability between the U.S. and other units. Each FST-J exercise is specifically focused on a different mission with the ultimate goal of maintaining readiness to support security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

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