Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (Japan)
|Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade|
Official velcro patch of the ARDB
|Active||7 April 2018 – present|
|Branch||Japan Ground Self-Defense Force|
Eventually would have 3,000 soldiers
|Major General Shinichi Aoki|
The Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (水陸機動団 Suirikukidōdan) is a marine unit of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) responsible for conducting amphibious operations. It incorporates the former Western Army Infantry Regiment, which was the dedicated amphibious warfare unit of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.
The ARDB is based at Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture.
In light of tensions over the Senkaku Islands and the decision for putting the Chinese Coast Guard under military control, Japan started the process of creating an elite marine unit. This brigade was designed to conduct amphibious operations and to recover any Japanese islands taken by an adversary.
In 2006, Japan devised a plan to respond to this threat as outlined in the Defense Programs and Budget of Japan. Thus Japan prepared an amphibious force with the necessary know-how, acquired amphibious and other vehicles for such warfare. Prior to this, training was conducted with the U.S. Marine Corps such as "Iron Fist" and the integrated exercise "Dawn Blitz" in which the JSDF participated.
In the Rim of the Pacific Exercise of 2014, the Japan Ground Self Defense Force participated for the first time with amphibious warfare training between the U.S. Marine Corps and the GSDF for multilateral exercises. In Japan, joint exercises are also conducted by inviting the U.S. Marine Corps at JGSDF Camp Soumagahara (Gunma Prefecture) and training with the dispatch of GSDF members to the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa Prefecture.
On 7 April 2018, Japan activated its first marine unit since World War II. The marines of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF)'s Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, gathered at a ceremony activating the brigade at JGSDF's Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, on the southwest island of Kyushu, Japan. The Brigade is trained to counter invaders from occupying Japanese islands along the edge of the East China Sea that Tokyo considers vulnerable to attack.
The ARDB suffered its first casualty when a 38-year old JGSDF soldier, Suguru Maehara, with the rank of Sergeant 1st Class, was killed in a vehicular accident after the vehicle he was in collided with another vehicle in Subic Bay.
The ARDB is composed of the following:
- Brigade HQ
- Combat Landing Battalion
- Artillery Battalion
- Reconnaissance Battalion
- Engineer Battalion
- Signal Company
- Logistic Support Battalion
- 1st Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment
- 2nd Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment
- 3rd Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment (to be formed)
- Amphibious Rapid Deployment Training Unit
ARDB forces are equipped with light infantry weapons, including:
- Minimi 5.56mm Light Machine guns
- Howa Type 89 Assault rifles
- M24 SWS Sniper Rifles
- Minebea PM-9 Machine pistol
ARDB are also equipped with US and Japanese-made military vehicles and aircraft such as:
- Assault Amphibious Vehicle AAV7A1 RAM/RS
- Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey MV-22B Tiltrotor aircraft
- Combat Rubber Raiding Craft
- Komatsu LAV
- Mitsubishi Type 73 Light Truck
- Toyota Type 73 Medium Truck
- Imperial Japanese Navy Land Forces — Historical units
- "Japan activates first marines since WW2 to bolster defenses against China". Kyodo News. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
- "防衛省・自衛隊｜平成29年版防衛白書｜コラム｜＜解説＞自衛隊初の本格的な水陸両用作戦部隊「水陸機動団」の新編". Mod.go.jp. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
- Gady, Franz-Stefan Japan’s Elite Amphibious Assault Force Trains With US Marines The Diplomat Retrieved December 11, 2016
- Slavic, Erik Japan preparing amphibious force: it looks a lot like a Marine brigade November 4, 2016 Stars and Stripes Retrieved December 11, 2016
- "Defense Programs and Budget of Japan" (PDF). Mod.go.jp. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
- "陸自「水陸機動団」準備着々／創設まであと１年・離党防衛強化へ米海兵隊と訓練". 産経新聞朝刊. March 20, 2017.
- Fuentes, Gidget U.S. Marines Teach Japanese Forces How to Fight From the Sea in Expanded Iron Fist Exercise January 25, 2016 USNI News Retrieved December 11, 2016
- Kubo, Nobuhiro Japan activates first marines since WW2 to bolster defenses against China. April 7, 2018. Reuters. Retrieved August 2, 2018
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