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 2023.
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.
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.
This exercise follows a visit by JASDF F-35As to RAAF Base Tindal, the first time Japan’s F-35As have embarked on an international visit.
“Exercise Bushido Guardian 23 will enhance our interoperability with the JASDF, on ground and in the air. 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," said Air Marshal Rob Chipman, Chief of Air Force.
“Our aviators will develop their skills deploying overseas, 5,800 kilometres from home, and forge professional relationships with their Japanese counterparts."