The militaries of Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and the US have completed the biennial missile defense drill Pacific Dragon.
Taking place in Hawaii at Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands (PMRF) and off the coast of Kauai, the exercise was held between August 5 and 15 and saw the navies of the five countries, including the US Missile Defense Agency, hone their tactical and technical coordination and interoperability concerning regional air and missile defense capability.
PD22 was the first iteration of exercise Pacific Dragon that included a live fire intercept of a short range ballistic missile using a Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block IA.
Assets that participated in PD22 included HMAS Sydney (DDG 42), HMAS Supply (A 195), HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331), JS Haguro (DDG 180), ROKS Sejong the Great (DDG 991), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands, Kauai.
The exercise was led by the US 3rd Fleet, an integral part of the US Pacific Fleet, which operates naval forces in the Indo-Pacific.
The drill was held in the wake of tensions with China, which has been holding massive military exercises around Taiwan following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan early August.
These tensions even led the US to delay a scheduled test of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this month. However, the US Strategic Command now confirmed that the operational test launch of a Minuteman III ICBM was planned for Tuesday, August 16 from north Vandenberg.
“This test is routine and was scheduled years in advance. Consistent with previous test launches, this ICBM test launch will validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system,” the STRATCOM said in an announcement.