ASDF F-15DJ refueling from Okinawa-based USAF tanker. USAF photo.

Japanese F-15 pilots have been practicing midair refueling in order to travel to Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska for Red Flag.

The training comes as Japanese pilots from Naha and Hyakuri air bases prepare to fly across the Pacific to participate in a Red Flag Alaska exercise in June at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

Red Flag Alaska is a large coalition exercise that involves many aircraft in complex missions. The exercise provides U.S. and coalition forces an opportunity to train together, improving readiness for wartime coalition missions.

In order to be certified, each pilot must successfully complete at least two daytime and two nighttime air refueling flights after completing several hours of classroom work. (Link)

It’s quite possible that the armed forces of the United States and Japan, with the exception of joint units that are co-located (i.e. Franco-German brigade), work together more often than any two countries on Earth. The U.S. and Japan are constantly doing some kind of joint operations/training: Yama Sakura, RIMPAC, Malabar, Iron Fist, Red Flag, Cobra Gold, Pacific Partnership…and those are just the ones that I’ve heard about. A simple Google search reveals many more.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 530 post(s) on Japan Security Watch