US Air Force and Japanese F-15 fighter pilots have been undergoing joint air refuelling training since the 27 July in preparation for a training exercise in Alaska in October.

The joint effort is in preparation for Red-Flag Alaska, a ten-day air combat training exercise that enables the US and coalition forces to train together, improving readiness for wartime coalition missions.

During the training for Red-Flag, instructor pilots from Tyndall Air Force Base in the US and Yokota Air Base in Japan joined KC-135 Stratotanker teams from the 909th Air Refuelling Squadron to train 18 Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) pilots.

Tyndall AFB 95th Fighter Squadron instructor pilot Capt. Scott Taylor said the training would allow them to observe JASDF tactics and compare them with their own tactics to ensure they are able to operate effectively together as a coalition.

“This training will allow them to safely deploy their jets to Alaska. During the exercise, it will allow them to get the gas they need to make it to the fight and have plenty of time to accomplish the objectives,” Taylor said.

JASDF 303rd Tactical Fighter Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Osamu Uemori said JASDF pilots are looking forward to training in Alaska because there are fewer airspace restrictions there compared to Japan.

“During this joint training, we have been learning specific techniques to help us brush up on our skills; it will also bring us a marked improvement for air defence capability,” he added.