Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Australia deploys F-35A stealth fighter jets to Japan

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has deployed six F-35A Lightning II aircraft to Japan for the first time as part of Exercise Bushido Guardian 23.

The exercise will take place at Komatsu Air Base until 15 September and will include bilateral air combat training between RAAF and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).

RAAF F-35As will conduct training alongside fourth and fifth-generation JASDF air capabilities, including Japan’s F-35As.

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Air Marshal Rob Chipman, Chief of Air Force, said the exercise demonstrated strength within Australia and Japan’s commitment to a strong bilateral strategic partnership.

“Exercise Bushido Guardian 23 will enhance our interoperability with the JASDF, on ground and in the air, Air Marshal Chipman said.

“Developing a mutual understanding in how we each operate the F-35A, is essential to how Australia and Japan contribute to the collective security of the Indo-Pacific.

“Our aviators will develop their skills deploying overseas, 5,800 kilometers from home, and forge professional relationships with their Japanese counterparts.”

The first Exercise Bushido Guardian was held in Japan in 2019, and this year’s exercise builds on the success of recent cooperation at exercises Pitch Black and Cope North.

In August 2023, the Australia-Japan Reciprocal Access Agreement entered into force, providing opportunities for more sophisticated cooperation between both nations.

“Exercise Bushido Guardian 2023 follows a visit by JASDF F-35As to RAAF Base Tindal, which is the first time Japan’s F-35As have embarked on an international visit, Air Marshal Chipman said.

“Collaborating in bilateral exercises across the Indo-Pacific provides both nations valuable experiences in overcoming the challenges of distance in our shared region.”

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Executive Editor

About author:

Daisuke Sato
Daisuke Sato
Daisuke Sato is defense reporter, covering the Asia-Pacific defense industrial base, defense markets and all related issues. He has covered the US and Japan bilateral exercises for several years.

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