Over 140 Royal Australian Air Force personnel and six F/A-18 Hornet aircraft have returned home after completing Exercise Bushido Guardian in Japan.
The exercise was the first air combat exercise on Japanese soil involving the RAAF and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Koku-Jieitai).
For over a month, Australian and Japanese fast jet pilots tested themselves in intensive training at Chitose and Misawa Air Bases, with six F/A-18A/B Hornet aircraft from No. 77 Squadron in Williamtown and a wide range of personnel from the Air Combat, Air Mobility, Combat Support and Surveillance and Response Groups focusing on interoperability with their Japanese counterparts.
The Detachment Commander, Wing Commander Jason Easthope, congratulated participants on its success.
“Commanding the first ever air combat exercise with Japan has been super exciting because it’s first-of-type; it’s really unique and everybody is really hyped up about being here,” WGCDR Easthope said.
“We get to look each other in the eyes when we are briefing and discussing tactics and building those procedures that we will use together to enhance our interoperability going forward.
“Being here in Chitose has also been fantastic from a cultural experience perspective.
“Not only are we meeting new people but we are getting to understand the Japanese lifestyle and immerse ourselves in the culture of the local area.”
The Commanding Officer of Koku-Jieitai No. 203 Squadron, Lieutenant Colonel Yamashita, shared the Australians’ enthusiasm.
“Next time I hope that the Koku-Jieitai will train in Australia and that our opportunities to train together continue to grow," LTCOL Yamashita said.
“Thank you for coming to Japan, we are looking forward to flying with you in the future.”