15th Wing, JASDF increase interoperability during first bilateral exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Makensie Cooper

Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Koku-Jieitai) Airmen spent three days training alongside 15th Wing Airmen, strengthening partnerships and familiarizing both forces with the Kawasaki C-2 and C-17 Globemaster III.

This was the first bilateral training exercise between the 535th Airlift Squadron and the JASDF (K-J) 403rd Tactical Airlift Squadron with the main objective of flying in a formation and completing an airdrop mission.

“This is the first exercise of a C-17 and JASDF (K-J) C-2 aircraft,” said JASDF Lt. Col. Motofumi Suzuki, 403rd Tactical Airlift Squadron commander. “It is symbolic for us to fly together in the same sky at the same time, as it not only strengthens our alliance but also improves interoperability.”

The two squadrons flew orientation sorties to familiarize aircrews from each force on the capabilities of both aircraft and the different processes of each crew.

“It was an honor to be able to lead the formation, put the training plan together, and figure out the main objectives of what we both wanted to accomplish,” said U.S Air Force Capt. Carol Champion, 535th AS instructor pilot. “Having good partners that we know we can depend on and work together with, whether it’s for a humanitarian crisis or any other challenges we face, allows us to handle future situations better.”

The joint training increased operational concepts and capabilities and advanced communication, transparency, and shared values and interests, strengthening partnerships for future situations.

“Robust bilateral relationships like that of the U.S. and Japan are essential to cultivating our ability to support each other across the Indo-Pacific,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Keith Young, 15th Wing vice commander. “This has been a great opportunity for the 15th Wing team to share our capabilities, strengthen partnerships and advance joint interoperability.”