RAAF completes first refuelling test with Japanese air force

By Anna Macdonald

May 2, 2022

The RAAF has conducted its first air-to-air refuelling flight testing with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. (Defence)

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has conducted its first air-to-air refuelling flight testing with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF, or Koku-Jieitai).

The successful flight test program was labelled by Air Commander Australia air vice-marshall Darren Goldie as a leap forward for Australia and Japan’s interoperability. 

“The success of this program will facilitate Japan’s participation in Exercise Pitch Black 22, which will take place in the Northern Territory this August and September.

“Working together will ensure we can continue to uphold and reinforce a secure, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific region,” said Goldie.

Goldie further stated that the success of the program represented two years of close cooperation between the two countries’ air development departments. 

In a media statement, the JASDF stated the successful test reconfirmed its commitment ‘to uphold and reinforce the Free and Open Indo Pacific’.

The program, which ran for three weeks in April, consisted of a RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and Mitsubishi F-2 aircraft of the JASDF. Aircrew and engineers tested the compatibility between the systems in a range of configurations and lighting conditions. 

JASDF and RAAF personnel have previously worked together in Tonga and Australia following natural disasters in those countries. 

Earlier this year, RAAF and JASDF personnel participated in a trilateral exchange with the United States Air Force (USAF) in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The federal government a few weeks ago announced a partnership with NATO over sanctions for the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia

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John Owens
1 month ago

As the person who negotiated the first Australia-Japan Defence agreement in 2002-03 as Director North and South Asia at International Policy Division this is great to see!

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