The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) recently trained together at Exercise Bushido Guardian in Japan. This was the first time RAAF F-35A Lightning IIs travelled to Japan as part of the biennial exercise and is the first implementation of a Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) between Japan and Australia last month.
The exercise events held in Japan involved the integration of Australian and Japanese aviators at every level, with the RAAF 75 Squadron F-35A Lightning IIs flying alongside the Koku Jieitai (KJ) F-35A from the 301st Tactical Fighter Squadron, F-15J Eagles and Mitsubishi F-2s from Komatsu Air Base.
Flight Lieutenant Mitchell Delaney, a fighter combat instructor from the RAAF’s 75 Squadron, said learning to operate from an unfamiliar aerodrome with unknown local procedures, tests fundamental skills. “It gives us the confidence that we can take these jets anywhere we need to.”
The training on the fourth- and fifth-generation platforms progressed from basic fighter maneuvers to large-force employment missions, over the course of the exercise.
The partnership between the two air forces was made stronger during the exercise through a sister squadron signing ceremony between 75 Squadron and the KJ 301st Tactical Fighter Squadron.
Exercise Bushido Guardian was preceded by the first-time visit of KJ F-35As to RAAF Base Tindal in Australia in August.