RAAF Base Amberley has welcomed a number of Japan Air Self-Defense Force aircraft, ahead of a joint aid mission in Tonga.
Amberley is being used as a base from which the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) can load supplies onto aircraft and prepare for a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) mission in Tonga in response to the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano and subsequent tsunami.
No. 23 Squadron’s Air Movements Section led the interoperability exercise, working with JASDF loadmasters to meet demanding flight schedules.
Director General Air Command Operations Air Commodore Stephen Chappell, who met with Colonel Hiroshi Fujii from the JASDF on 3 February, welcomed the visiting force on behalf of both the Chief of Air Force and the Chief of Joint Operations.
“We welcome the opportunity to assist our Japan Air Self-Defense Force partners here at RAAF Base Amberley as we work together to help the people of Tonga in their time of need,” he said.
AIRCDRE Chappell also lauded the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s management of COVID protocols while in Australia.
“This mission has helped pave the way for further deployments of Japan Air Self-Defense Force aircraft and crews to Australia, be it to train together with their RAAF counterparts or to support our friends in the South West Pacific,” AIRCDRE Chappell said.
Colonel Fujii, Commander 1st Tactical Airlift Wing Japan Air Self-Defense Force, thanked AIRCDRE Chappell for the co-operation at RAAF Base Amberly, adding he looked forward to the upcoming deployment of a RAAF KC-30 air-refuelling aircraft to a Japanese base.
The counterparts reflected on the importance of the bilateral relationship between Australia and Japan, welcoming the recent signing of the Reciprocal Access Agreement.
Defence is working alongside New Zealand, Fiji, France, Japan, UK, US, and India to coordinate offers of assistance to Tonga.
Australia has delivered more than 40 tonnes of emergency relief supplies to Tonga, including shelter materials, water and sanitation supplies, equipment to restore communications and personal protective equipment for those clearing debris.
Article courtesy of Defence Connect.