By Pacific Island Times Nes Staff
Koror--The U.S. is set to test-fire the Patriot air defense missile system in Palau on Jun. 15, Stars and Stripes reported.
Capt. Nicholas Chopp, a spokesman for the 94th Air and Missile Defense Command at Joint Base Pearl Harbour-Hickam, Hawaii, said this month’s exercise in Palau has been in the works for more than a year and isn’t a response to China’s diplomatic moves.
Stars and Stripes reported that the U.S. Army will sending a pair of Patriot launchers as well as radar and command and control systems and an unspecified number of soldiers to Palau for the exercise.
“It’s going to be the first time we have done [a Patriot live-fire drill] on Palau,” he said. “And it’s the second one west of the international dateline," Stars and Stripes quoted Chopp as saying.
The Patriot will be fired by Okinawa-based soldiers from 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Battalion.
The Army has moved its Patriot batteries around the Pacific frequently in the past year, Stars and Stripes said.
The U.S. Navy will also hold its major international, biannual exercise focused on the Indo-Pacific later this month.
The Navy announced that 26 nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 170 aircraft and approximately 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise scheduled June 29 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
RIMPAC participants will include countries as far afield from Denmark and India, and a number of Pacific island and eastern Asian nations such as Thailand and Malaysia.
“As the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s interconnected oceans,” US 3rd Fleet said.