Fuji Firepower Review 2011

Type-92 mine-clearance vehicle
Type-92 mine-clearance vehicle
Type-87 self-propelled anti-aircraft machine gun
Type-87 self-propelled anti-aircraft machine gun
Type-74 tank
Type-74 tank
Multi-purpose helicopter (OH-1)
Multi-purpose helicopter (OH-1)

On August 27 and 28, the GSDF conducted the 2011 Fuji Firepower Review at the East Fuji Maneuver Area located in Gotemba City, Shizuoka Prefecture. On August 28, a live-firing combat exercise was conducted before an audience of approximately 23,700 people, comprising then Defense Minister Kitazawa and other key defense officials, members of the Diet, Commanding General of the III Marine Expeditionary Force Lieutenant General Glueck, and members of the general public who had signed up for the event.

This year, approximately 300 people from Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures, which had been seriously afflicted by the Great East Japan Earthquake, were also invited to attend the event. After all the exhibitions came to a close, banners proclaiming “Ganbaro Tohoku” ( “You can do it, Tohoku” ) were displayed on the hatches of the tanks that had participated in the event. The elaborate and powerful exercise captured the rapt attention of the audience.

Approximately 2,400 personnel assigned to the Fuji School Brigade, including the GSDF Infantry School Regiment and school regiments such as the artillery, reconnaissance, and tank units, participated in the event. A variety of important equipment was also on display, including approximately 80 tanks and armored vehicles, 80 types of artillery, 30 aircraft, and 600 units of other vehicles.

F2 fighters from the Air SDF base at Tsuiki entered at low altitude, and proceeded to turn and climb at steep angles. A large-scale exercise involving the simultaneous explosion of surface explosives filled the air with giant flames and earsplitting roars, which was followed by live-firing using long-distance artillery firepower.

In the tracer firing event (making shells explode in mid-air), the timing of shots from the respective gunports was cleverly coordinated to illuminate the silhouette of Mt. Fuji, dazzling the audience.

Mines were scattered and troop members dropped from helicopters, which succeeded in blasting a bridge, while targets 500m ahead were shot with anti-personnel sniper rifles. This was followed by cannon shooting from antitank guided missiles and combat helicopters and firing from Types 74 and 90 tanks, as well as reconnaissance of enemies using motorbikes dropped from helicopters in the sky. Thereafter, under the cover of live-fire from combat helicopters and antitank helicopters, forward heliborne attacks were carried out by large transport helicopters to break through the enemy cordon. These displays of courage and bravery brought forth many rounds of applause from the audience.

In between the exciting displays, the Fuji School Brigade Band and 1st Band (Nerima) provided performances, including a medley of Tohoku folk tunes, adding a touch of harmony to the firepower review.

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