A pair of Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft have touched down in the Northern Territory for the first deployment under the Australia–Japan Reciprocal Access Agreement.
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The JASDF fighter jets and 55 personnel were welcomed to Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal from 26 to 29 August, marking the first time the JASDF has deployed F-35As to another country.
Secretary of the Department of Defence Greg Moriarty said the visit facilitates deeper and more sophisticated practical cooperation between the Australian Defence Force and the Japan Self-Defense Forces as part of the agreement.
“Australia is honoured to be chosen as the destination for Japan’s first international deployment of its F-35As,” he said.
“This is a significant milestone in the relationship between our two countries and is the first activity to be held under the Reciprocal Access Agreement.
“In September, we will reciprocate this visit with six RAAF F-35As deploying to Japan for Exercise Bushido Guardian 2023.
“Our special strategic partnership with Japan is critical to supporting an open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”
The contingent was received by Vice Minister of Defense for International Affairs Serizawa Kiyoshi and ambassador for Japan Suzuki Kazuhiro and Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Robert Chipman.
“This visit to Australia will build closer working-level relationships between our respective air forces and enhance our mutual ability to cooperate in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Chief of Air Force, AIRMSHL Chipman.
“It’s our pleasure to host the Japan Air Self-Defense Force for this visit, and we look forward to seeing them return for future exercises here in Australia.
“Developing our mutual understanding, especially in how we each operate the F-35A, is essential to how Australia and Japan contribute to the collective security of the Indo-Pacific.”