The Royal Australian Air Force has recently deployed F-18A/B Classic Hornets from No. 77 Squadron to Japan for Exercise Bushido Guardian 19, the first ever bilateral air combat exercise hosted by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
The exercise, which runs from 11 September to 8 October 2019, is being conducted primarily from Japan Air Self-Defense Force bases in Chitose and Misawa, and involves participants from RAAF Air Combat, Air Mobility, Surveillance and Response and Combat Support Groups exercising alongside Japanese counterparts.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said Exercise Bushido Guardian 2019 marks a new precedent in Australia and Japan’s air-to-air, defence and broader bilateral relationship.
“This is the first exercise of this nature between our two countries, which aims to increase our practical engagement with Japan – a key partner that shares Australia’s commitment to regional peace and security,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Importantly, the exercise will offer all personnel involved the opportunity to build and maintain relationships – a vital contributor to the strength of the Australia-Japan Special Strategic Partnership.”
Air Force will deploy support aircraft and seven F-18A/B Classic Hornet fighter aircraft to participate in the exercise.
The deployment will be supported by KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft, providing personnel transport and air-to-air refuelling capability; and a C-17A Globemaster and C-130J Hercules providing heavy airlift capability.
Air Commander Australia, Air Vice-Marshal Joe Iervasi said the exercise offered great training benefits and was a chance to enhance shared cooperation and military appreciation.
“Exercise Bushido Guardian 2019 will offer opportunities for Australia and Japan to not only test and evaluate existing interoperability, but also to increase mutual awareness on force generation requirements, including long-range deployment and sustainment practices,” AVM Iervasi said.
The exercise was supposed to take place last year, but it was postponed due to the Hokkaido earthquake in Japan last September.