Exercise Bushido Guardian held in Septemeber and October 2019 marked the first joint air combat exercise between the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Japan Self-Defense Force (JASDF) in northern Japan. With assets based out of Chitose Air Base, Hokkaidō and Misawa Air Base, Tōhoku, the exercise took place over a four week period from the 11th of September to the 8th of October.
About Exercise Bushido Guardian 2019
Following the cancellation of Exercise Bushido Guardian in September 2018 due to a 6.6 magnitude earthquake in southern Hōkkaido, up to 150 defence personnel were deployed to this year’s iteration of the exercise.
“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.”Senator The Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, Minister of Defence
A total of thirteen Japan Air Self-Defense Force aircraft participated in the exercise from both Chitose and Misawa.
- Three F-2A/B Viper Zeros from 3 Hikotai
- Ten F-15J/DJ Eagles from 201 and 203 Hikotai
The Royal Australian Air Force sent a total of nine aircraft to Japan over the duration of the exercise.
- Six F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets from No. 77 Squadron
- One C-130J Hercules from No. 37 Squadron
- One C-17A Globemaster III from No. 36 Squadron
- One KC-30A MRTT from No. 33 Squadron
In recent years Japan and Australia have participated in numerous multi-national exercises including Exercise Cope North in Guam and more notably Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019, where the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) sent the JS Ise and JS Kunisaki with CH-47s and H-60s from the JGSDF and JMSDF respectively. Exercise Pitch Black 2020 will also mark a significant milestone between Australia and Japan with Japan being expected to participate in Australia’s largest multi-national exercise for the first time.
The Aviation Studio would like to extend a big thank you to local planespotter Masahito Utsumi for allowing us to use his photos in this article.