JGSDF Ospreys To Debut In 2022 Fuji Firepower Review

Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Forces say that this year’s edition of the Fuji Firepower Review on May 28 will feature a scenario where JGSDF troops respond to an invasion of Japan’s outlying islands, with a V-22 Osprey of the JGSDF expected to participate in the JGSDF’s largest annual live-fire exercise for the first time.

JGSDF Ospreys during rehearsals for the 2022 Fuji Firepower Review

The 2022 edition of the JGSDF’s flagship live-fire exercise will be livestreamed on YouTube as well, marking the third year in a row where the exercise was livestreamed. While the Firepower Review has traditionally been open to the public for viewing, the 2020 and 2021 editions were closed-door events due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the JGSDF livestreaming the exercises to the public and units not participating in the Review.

The JGSDF’s official livestream of the 2022 Fuji Firepower Review

The participation of the JGSDF V-22 is likely to be of great interest to viewers, as it will mark the first time the tilt-rotor trains with the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade at the East Fuji Maneuver Area that hosts the Firepower Review. While previous editions of the Review featured JGSDF Ospreys, it was in the form of pre-recorded footage that explained its role in Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade operations, rather than an “in person” appearance. 

Previously, JGSDF V-22s and the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade had trained with the United States Marine Corps in March, in the Maritime Defense Exercise – Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (MDX-ARDB). The exercise, which covered a range of scenarios from amphibious operations through urban warfare, was the first publicly acknowledged participation of JGSDF V-22s since the arrival of the first Japanese Osprey in Japan in 2020.

Scenes from the 61st anniversary open day of the JGSDF’s 3rd Division, held at Camp Senzo in Itami City on May 15.

While Self-Defense Force base open days are slowly making a return following a pandemic-induced hiatus of two years, much to the rejoicing of Japanese military enthusiasts, there is no such luck for the Fuji Firepower Review just yet. While the livestreamed events have made it accessible to those who would otherwise be unable to make it to the venue in person, longtime regulars of the Review say there’s nothing quite like being there yourself.