US Air Force (USAF) members have joined forces with Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members for Pacific Weasel exercise over Draughon Range.

The exercise saw participation from members of the 13th and 14th Fighter Squadrons of Misawa Air Force Base (AFB), Japan.

As reported by US technical sergeant Chris Jacobs from 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, the exercise’s iteration included F-16 multirole fighting Falcons from the 13th and 14th Fighter Squadrons and command and control assets assigned to the 610th Air Control Flight.

It also included surface-to-air missile simulators from the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) 101st Antiaircraft Artillery Unit from Camp Hachinohe.

35th Operations Support Squadron operations assistant director Major Daniel House said: “Each (Pacific Weasel) provides opportunities to train in a larger event with other aircraft than we would be able to train with in standard day-to-day training.”

In 2018, the 35th Fighter Wing commenced practices for the large-force exercises. Each exercise iteration was enhanced and improved upon.

13th Fighter Squadron electronic combat pilot Captain Peter Magness said: “The (Pacific Weasel) exercises are a great time for us to fully mission plan, execute and debrief a mission set that is essential to Misawa and our host nation partners.

“We had the opportunity to train with SAM site operators. Misawa (AFB) is fortunate to have a series of emitters at Draughon Range that we get to train with, but the incorporation of the JGSDF into (Pacific Weasel) gives us an extra layer of realistic training for our Wild Weasel mission.”

The 35th Fighter Wing hosts the only units in the Indo-Pacific region whose mission includes suppression of enemy air defences or the Wild Weasel mission.