The Japan Air Self-Defense Force has deployed two of its F-35A Lightning II fighter jets to Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal in the Northern Territory, marking the first time it has sent the military aircraft overseas.
Japan’s vice minister of defense for international affairs, Kiyoshi Serizawa, and Kazuhiro Suzuki, the ambassador to Australia, were present at the military airfield to welcome the fighter jets and its crew of 55 personnel.
“Australia is honored to be chosen as the destination for Japan’s first international deployment of its F-35As,” said Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty.
The aircraft’s visit to RAAF Base Tindal follows the Australian-Japan Reciprocal Access Agreement entry into force on Aug. 13. The agreement, signed in January 2022, tasks the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Australian Defense Force to conduct cooperative activities and promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Australia will also deploy six RAAF F-35A aircraft to Japan for Exercise Bushido Guardian 2023 in September.