Royal Australian Air Force and Japanese Air Self-Defence Force fighters have undertaken their first ever bilateral air combat training operations during Exercise Red Flag Alaska.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has successfully completed bilateral flying operations with the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) for the first time.
The first air combat familiarisation sortie was conducted on July 14 during Exercise Red Flag Alaska by RAAF F/A-18 Hornets from No 3 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales and JASDF F-15J Eagles from the 4th Kokudan (4th Air Wing).
While returning home, the RAAF aircraft arrived at Misawa Air Force Base on July 26, becoming second only to the United States military to ever have flown into a JASDF base.
“This level of high-end engagement offered the important opportunity to build on the strong friendship between Australia and Japan,” Commanding Officer No 3 Squadron, Wing Commander Terry van Haren, said.
“The large force, multi-threat environment of Red Flag enabled our fighter pilots to conduct complex missions with Japan, as well as the United States and Singapore, as part of the exercise coalition force,”
“Now that we have arrived in Japan, we will hold a cultural and dialogue exchange at Misawa to further develop the strong bonds fostered between the two nations during Red Flag,” Wing Commander van Haren said.
“The four-day exchange programme includes several cultural activities and capability briefs to enhance shared co-operation and military appreciation between the Australian and Japanese fighter squadrons.”
During the visit to Misawa, members from RAAF’s No 3, No 36 and No 37 squadrons will donate toys to the JASDF for children affected by the recent tsunami.
Australia and Japan signed an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement in May last year. This week’s visit is the first since the Agreement was signed and reflects the growing strength of Australia’s bilateral partnership with Japan contributing to peace, security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Exercise Red Flag Alaska 11–2 was conducted from Eielson Air Force Base, between July 4-22.