Members of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 1 hosted their counterparts from Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 81 during Raijin 22-2, as part of an annual unit exchange, Sept. 21-22. Raijin 22-2, named for the Japanese god of lightning, thunder, and storms, consisted of a gift and brief exchange, group discussions, static displays, and rider embark flight. VQ-1 and VQ-81 continue a history of cooperation that spans almost three decades. Bilateral exchanges improve tactical skills and the interoperability between the JMSDF and the U.S. Navy.
“VQ-1 and VQ-81 have a long history of cooperation and mission success and I am incredibly honored to continue this unique and valuable partnership,” said Cmdr. Nick Bullard, VQ-1 commanding officer. “This opportunity to learn and train together face-to-face is invaluable and more important than ever.”
Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 1 (VQ-1) is an aviation unit of the United States Navy established on 1 June 1955. Its role is aerial reconnaissance and signals intelligence. The squadron is nicknamed the “World Watchers” and is based at NAS Whidbey Island, flying Lockheed EP-3E Aries II aircraft. VQ-1 is part of Commander, Task Force 72. Based out of Whidbey Island, Washington, the “World Watchers” are currently operating from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. The squadron conducts naval operations as part of a rotational deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
The Lockheed EP-3 is an electronic signals reconnaissance variant of the P-3 Orion, operated by the United States Navy. The aircraft is known by the acronym ARIES, or “Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System”. and has Signals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities. SIGINT is the interception of signals, whether communications between people (communications intelligence—abbreviated to COMINT) or from electronic signals not directly used in communication (electronic intelligence—abbreviated to ELINT). The EP-3E generally has a crew of 24, including linguists, cryptographers and technicians.