SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Japanese pilots and aircrew visited Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3 and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 41, at Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI), June 3-4.
The pilots and aircrew from HSC-3 and HSM-41 invited pilots and aircrew from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Fleet Air Wing 21 and 23, to tour the squadrons and view the helicopters. They were briefed about the missions of the MH-60S and MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, and were able to take turns piloting in the MH-60S Tactical Operational Flight Trainer at HSC-3.
"We had a great time meeting with our friends from the JMSDF. These are Japanese helicopter aviators visiting HSC-3 to learn about our MH-60S aircraft capabilities, training and simulators," said Capt. Michael Ruth, commanding officer of HSC-3. "Additionally, they met with the commanding officer from HSM-41 to discuss some of the capabilities of the MH-60R. They seem to be really enjoying their visit to San Diego. This military to military exchange has been a huge success."
The pilots from HSC-3 and HSM-41 were invited to visit the JMSDF helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDG 181), at Naval Base San Diego (NBSD). They were given a brief regarding the ship and the helicopters they utilize, and were then escorted on a tour of the spaces and of the helicopters.
"We have been strong allies for the past 50 years, and it is an important alliance and friendship that we need to maintain. We have a common interest in Naval Aviation. They wanted to see our helicopters, just like we wanted to see theirs, to compare the similarities and the differences," said Lt. Tyler McKnight, instructor pilot at HSC-3. "They have a very nice ship. It is extremely clean and they were very gracious. They did a wonderful job on their presentation about their ship, its capabilities, and about their helicopters. I learned a lot."
JMSDF currently utilizes the SH-60J and the SH-60K, which are used for anti-submarine patrol.
"They had some very good questions during the briefs and were extremely interested in the data link systems. They fly something very similar to our SH-60B; they more or less have the Mitsubishi version of it. They showed us what they can do, and we showed them what we can do. We are working together and building friendships. I believe that they got a lot out of this and I think that we did too," explained Lt. Matt Pratt, instructor pilot at HSM-41.
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