An ASDF KC767 refuelling ASDF F-15Js above Alaska at last year's RED FLAG-ALASKA

An ASDF KC767 refuelling ASDF F-15Js above Alaska at last year's RED FLAG-ALASKA (Source: Asagumo)

The Mainichi today published a Kyodo news report stating that the Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force will conduct joint training drills in Alaska next month. Although Alaska seems like a strange place for Australians and Japanese to train, it is due to the framework of this exercise: RED FLAG-ALASKA (formerly known as COOPERATIVE COPE THUNDER), “an advanced aerial combat training exercise” held at Eielson Air Force Base from June 27th to July 29th. As part of the RED FLAG exercise, the ASDF will flying F-15s and the RAAF will have F/A-18 Hornets.

The joint drill will take place on July 7th to 9th, presumably on the sidelines of the larger RED FLAG exercise. It will be the first such joint drill between the two countries and a sign of the growing defense and security ties between the two nations. Last May, they signed an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA) allowing for logistical support between the two nations’ military forces. The ACSA was a noticeable milestone in the larger range of growing ties seen to have grown out in particular during Shinzo Abe’s term as prime minister back in 2006. At that time, Japan even pursued intelligence ties with Australia as urged by the US.

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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch