The Australian ministry of Defence announced 6 September that a pair of Japanese F-35S’s made their first international deployment after flying 6400km from Japan to the Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal, near Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territories.
Australia has been increasing its interoperability exercises in recent weeks with number of partners in the Indo-Pacific region, including a joint combat air exercise with Thailand’s F-16 fighting Falcon and JAS Gripen Fighters as part of Exercise Thai boomerang 23, announced 1 September, and Exercise Rajawali AusIndo in conjunction with Indonesian C-130 Hercules transport aircraft crews.
This visit was the first overseas F-35A tour to Australia, with roughly 60 JASDF troops entertained at RAAF Base Tindal by fellow F-35A aviators from the Air Force’s 75 Squadron from 26 August.
Both JASDF F-35As returned home three days later, with 75 Squadron departing for Exercise Bushido Guardian 23 in Japan at the same time.
The historic deployment was the first to take place under the Japan-Australia Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), which was signed on 13 August.
One of the F-35As was flown to RAAF Base Tindal by Lieutenant Colonel Okamoto Kazuhito, Commander of the JASDF’s 301st Tactical Fighter Squadron.
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Lieutenant Colonel Kazuhito told the assembled Australian and Japanese servicemen on base that the deployment was a high point in his squadron’s history. “2023 is a very special year for us – it is our 50th anniversary year, and we landed our F-35A for the first time on Australian soil,” Lieutenant Colonel Kazuhito said.
It was announced on 7 September that Australian F-35A Lightening have travelled to Japan to take part in two week a biennial exercise, Bushido Guardian. The duty of 75 Squadron in Exercise Bushido Guardian is to organize and execute missions alongside Koku Jieitai counterparts flying fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft like as the F-15J Eagle, Mitsubishi F-2A, and F-35A.