This year’s iteration of Exercise Keen Sword, a joint military exercise by the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and and the U.S. Armed Forces, will see Japan airlifting the 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle (MCV) to Yonaguni airport using the Kawasaki C-2 military transport aircraft. The wheeled armored fighting vehicle will then be driven from the airport to the garrison on Yonaguni island. It will be the first time for MCV to run on general roads in the prefecture. The MCV is expected to be brought into the prefecture from Tsuiki Base (Fukuoka Prefecture). Yonaguni, one of the Yaeyama Islands, is the westernmost inhabited island of Japan, lying 108 kilometers (67 mi) from the east coast of Taiwan, between the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean proper.
The Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle (MCV) is a wheeled armored fighting vehicle of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. The Type 16 equips designated combat units. Due to its light weight and small size, it is designed for easy deployment (by aircraft if needed) allowing rapid movement on narrow roads and in built-up areas in response to various contingencies. Despite its small size and light armor, it can successfully attack much larger armored fighting vehicles as well as personnel, using its large caliber gun. MCVs are expected to be highly functional, but can also be loaded on Kawasaki C-2 at the same time. JPSDF is dedicated to securing transport vessels for maritime transport independently, and will be carried on these vessels and transported to the Okinawa Islands.
The Kawasaki C-2 (previously XC-2 and C-X) is a mid-size, twin-turbofan engine, long range, high speed military transport aircraft developed and manufactured by Kawasaki Aerospace Company. In June 2016, the C-2 formally entered service with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). There are ongoing efforts to sell it overseas to countries such as New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. The Kawasaki C-2 is a long range twin-engine transport aircraft. In comparison with the older C-1 that it replaces, the C-2 can carry payloads up to four times heavier, such as MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries and Mitsubishi H-60 helicopters, and possesses six times the range.
From 10 to 19 November 2022, Indo-Pacific Command’s First Island Chain Stand-In Force (SIF) III Marine Expeditionary Force is conducting distributed, combined and joint maritime operations throughout the nearly 2,000 mile long archipelago of Japan, as a part of exercise Keen Sword 23. During this year’s iteration, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s (JGSDF) Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) and U.S. Marines from III Marine Expeditionary Force will conduct amphibious landings side-by-side in the vicinity of mainland Japan. Keen Sword exercises the combined capabilities and lethality developed between III Marine Expeditionary Force and the Japan Self-Defense Force while strengthening the interoperability and combat readiness of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.