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Several Japan Air Self-Defense Force Mitsubishi F-15 Eagles joined other RED FLAG-Alaska participants July 12 after having its entire F-15 fighter fleet grounded in response to an incident on July 4 with one of the fighter jets during a routine training exercise back in Japan.
The F-15 was brought to RED-FLAG Alaska to help JASDF members improve their tactical flying skills and their ability to generate aircraft in a simulated combat environment.
In Japan’s first overseas military training exercise since the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in March, JASDF will be receiving world class training and experiencing a realistic combat simulation. Thorough planning and precautions have ensured challenges were overcome, and the participation of six of Japan’s F-15s began immediately upon their arrival at RF-A 11-2.
“Some of our major training goals as RF-A participants are to expand our fighters’ tactics,” said Lt. Col. Koichi Tokushige, JASDF F-15 Unit Commander. “We would like to improve cooperation between U.S. Forces and JSDAF as well as continue to strive for better understanding with our friends and allies in a joint environment.”
The RF-A participants were ready to begin training earlier this week, however, with the F-15s not arriving until a few days into the exercise Japanese F-15 pilots and maintenance members utilized extra time to further prepare for the weeks flying schedule.
“There are some significant differences in how we maintain our fighter aircraft,” said Tech. Sgt. Toru Michibata, a JASDF maintenance technician. “We would like to show that the Japanese are the best of the best, but we also want to know how some of our international partners repair their aircraft and keep them mission ready.”
Ultimately, the arrival of the F-15s has motivated JASDF personnel who are ready to play their part in this large training exercise. The F-15 will fly a variety of tactics and missions in concert with other participating aircraft throughout the exercise.