USAF and JASDF joint flight to emphasize the Pacific partnership

Yesterday, on 12th July 2023, F-15C Eagles of the United States Air Force and Mitsubishi F-2s of the Japan Air Self-Defence Force performed a joint formation flight over the Sea of Japan to demonstrate US-Japan partnership and military alliance.

The flight occurred just a few hours after the North Korea´s state media announced the country performed another test of Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile. According to the North Korean official release, the missile covered a distance of approximately 1,000 kilometres in 74 minutes, reaching an altitude of over 6,000 kilometres and finally landed in waters near to Japan.

The test flight was precisely tracked by the Japan armed forces. According to the official announcement of the Japan Ministry of Defence, the Hwasong-18 was launched at 9:59 hours local time. The missile fell into the waters of the Sea of Japan at 11:15 hours, in the area known as the East Sea.

It should be noted that North Korean ballistic missile test met with strong diplomatic response of Japan, the Republic of South Korea, the United States and NATO. In addition, a trilateral meeting between Japan, South Korea and US top military authorities have been organized in Hawaii.

The joint US-Japan formation flight over the Sea of Japan was another demonstration of the bilateral military cooperation between the countries, ´acting as the cornerstone of regional security and presenting an ironclad defence of Japan´ – as emphasized by the US Department of Defence. 

Joint formation of the USAF and JASDF aircraft flies over the Sea of Japan (USAF photo by Airman 1st Class Tylir Meyer)
A F-15C Eagle assigned to the 67th FS while flying over Japan (USAF photo by Airman 1st Class Tylir Meyer)

The US-Japan military alliance is focused on enhancing a security architecture of regional partnership. Air forces of both countries are performing regular joint trainings to enhance their interoperability and ability to project airpower in the Indo-Pacific region.

The F-15C Eagle aircraft that participated in the joint flight are assigned to the 67th Fighter Squadron, nicknamed ´Fighting Cocks´ and stationing at Kadena Air Force Base in Japan. The demonstration flight was logistically supported by the 909th Air Refuelling Squadron ´Young Tigers´ and its KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft.

Kadena is the largest USAF base in the East Asia region. The airfield accommodates the 18th Wing USAF, consisting of the Operations Group, Mission Support Group, Maintenance Group, Medical Group and Civil Engineer Group, as well as the 353rd Special Operations Group, air defence and reconnaissance units. Number of the US personnel at Kadena exceeds 20,000 servicemen and family members.

´Kadena routinely conducts training as it is critical to deterring aggression and being ready to fight and win to protect the vital interests of the United States and Japan´, the US DoD pointed out in official announcement related to the joint flight.

Demonstration flight over Japan (USAF photo by Airman 1st Class Tylir Meyer)
A F-15C Eagle receives fuel over Japan (USAF photo by Airman 1st Class Tylir Meyer)

Cover photo: A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle assigned to the 67th Fighter Squadron flies over the East China Sea, July 12, 2023. (USAF photo by Airman 1st Class Tylir Meyer). All photos © U.S. Department of Defence (DoD). DoD information materials were used, in compliance with Public Domain licence. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.