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Royal Australian Air Force conducts first bilateral air combat exercise with Japan

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SENATOR THE HON LINDA REYNOLDS CSC Minister for Defence Senator for Western Australia


Up to 150 Air Force personnel will participate in the first bilateral air combat exercise between the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said Exercise Bushido Guardian 2019 marks a new precedent in Australia and Japan’s air-to-air, defence and broader bilateral relationship.

“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,” Minister Reynolds said.

“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.”

Air Force will deploy support aircraft and seven F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet fighter aircraft to participate in the exercise.

The deployment will be supported by KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft, providing personnel transport and air-to-air refuelling capability; and a C-17A Globemaster and C-130J Hercules providing heavy airlift capability.

Air Commander Australia, Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Joe Iervasi said the exercise offered great training benefits and was a chance to enhance shared cooperation and military appreciation.

“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,” AVM Lervasi said.

An arrival ceremony will be held at Chitose Air Base on Friday, 20 September 2019, to mark the arrival of the RAAF F/A-18A/B fighter aircraft to Japan.

The exercise will be held from 11 September to 8 October.

Media Note Interviews with exercise participants are available on request.

Imagery will be available at after 11 September 2019.

Information about the F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet is available at

Media Contacts Lauren Gianoli (Minister Reynolds’ Office): +61 428 570 417 Nicky Hamer (Minister Reynolds’ Office): +61 437 989 927 Defence Media: +612 6127 1999,