The Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) has fired two FH-70 howitzers 25km out for the very first time while in Australia.

The long-range firing of FH-70 howitzers took place at the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) Shoalwater Bay Training Area during Exercise Southern Jackaroo, which involved Australia, Japan and the US. The exercise concluded today.

It is part of a series of initiatives agreed to during the Australia-Japan Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting held in October last year and strengthens bilateral ties.

JGSDF fire direction officer captain Yutu Goto said: “The opportunity to be able to conduct this firing activity in Australia’s large training area has been very beneficial for the Japan Ground Self Defense Force.”

The two-week trilateral ground Exercise Southern Jackaroo saw the participation of more than 150 JGSDF troops along with around 300 US Marine Rotational Force-Darwin members and over 260 soldiers from the Australian Army’s 7th Brigade.

It demonstrates the defence relationship between Australia, Japan and the US, as well as the shared commitment to increasing interoperability while enhancing the sophistication of trilateral exercises.

Australian Army 7th Brigade commander Brigadier Andrew Hocking said: “The Japan Ground Self Defense Force should be proud of the achievements it has made during this exercise and we were proud to be a part of it.

“The capability is complex, so to prove that their munitions and guns are effective at that range is a real accomplishment.

“This not only gives the Japan Ground Self Defense Force confidence, but it also gives us even more confidence to work closely with each other in support of peace and security.”