The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Japan Air Self-Defense Force will conduct their first bilateral air combat exercise, known as Bushido Guardian 2019.

Exercise Bushido Guardian 2019 will take place between 11 September and 8 October.

The exercise will involve the participation of up to 150 RAAF personnel.

Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds stated that the exercise will be a new chapter in the air-to-air and defence relationship between the two countries.

Reynolds said: “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.

“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.”

In a release, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said that the RAAF will be represented by seven F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet fighter aircraft.

Australian support aircraft, including KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft, and a C-17A Globemaster and C-130J Hercules, will also be deployed.

The MRTT will be used for personnel transport and air-to-air refuelling capability while the other two aircraft will be used for heavy airlift.

RAAF Air Commander Australia air vice-marshal Joe Iervasi said Bushido Guardian will provide an opportunity to improve mutual cooperation.

Iervasi said: “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.”

Last year, Bushido Guardian exercise between Australia and Japan was postponed due to the Hokkaido earthquake in Japan.