World

July 12, 2012

Arizona, Japanese Airmen team up for post-tsunami fighter capabilities

Tags:
1st Lt. Angela Walz
162nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Dave Neve)
Japan Air Self-Defense Force 1st Lt. Keisuke Ueda pre-flights his helmet with the help of Staff Sgt. Luis Aguilar, an aircrew flight equipment specialist at the 162nd Fighter Wing at Tucson International Airport, Feb. 22. Ueda is one of three Japanese students currently enrolled in F-16 initial pilot training here.

While the island nation of Japan continues to rebuild in the wake of the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, its airmen look to reconstitute the country’s air defenses – learning to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon here with the Arizona Air National Guard.

The disaster left the Japan Air Self-Defense Force short on their jet of choice, the F-2 Fighter; a multirole platform similar to the F-16. Laying the groundwork for the possible purchase of next-generation aircraft, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Japan has turned to the 162nd Fighter Wing at Tucson International Airport for F-16 pilot training as a precursor to the radar-evading fighter currently in production.

“They’re cool,” said JASDF 1st Lt. Kazuhiro Ota of the F-16. “Not many of our pilots have flown this type of fighter. It’s a real privilege for us.”

Ota, from Warabi, located in central Japan, is one of three Japanese students currently in the basic qualification here. Although there are no F-16s in the Japanese inventory, training in Tucson offers opportunities they would generally not receive in their native country.

Enticed by exceptional flying weather and vast over-land ranges in Southern Arizona, Japan’s pilots have made the trek to join pilots from Poland, Norway, Singapore, Denmark, and the Netherlands at the Air Guard’s international F-16 school house.

“We get more advanced training here and more flight experience,” said 1st Lt. Nobuyuki Ariga from Osaka.

Ariga praised his American instructors for their knowledge, experience, flight and people skills.

Instructors at the 162nd average more than 2,400 flying hours in the F-16, and as a unit, the wing has graduated more than 2,000 Viper pilots during its 23 years in international military training.

“They’re good. Our instructors show much respect, and they’re very helpful,” he said.

The sentiment is clear on both sides, however.

“Honor, respect, and military bearing are very evident in the Japanese students,” said Maj. David Torres, an instructor pilot and the flight commander in charge of their training. “All three students show a sincere desire to learn and improve. They’re dedicated, and their nation is very involved in all aspects of their training.”

Japanese dignitaries visited the Tucson Air Guard base in February to see first-hand the classrooms, syllabus, and living arrangements for their student pilots.

“This has been a very positive experience for both countries,” said Tech. Sgt. Pamela McNair-Foust, a training technician with the International Military Student Office here. “It’s refreshing to see a country so involved with students on a personal level.”

The JASDF Head of Personnel Planning Division, Col. Takashi Sugimura, was among the leaders who visited. “They went through the syllabus line-by-line at that time before the final approval was given,” said McNair-Foust.

An additional Japanese student is expected to arrive in Tucson later this fall, about the same time the current students are set to complete the course. All three current students expressed the hope of returning someday to work alongside their American counterparts.

“The U.S. pilots have a lot of experience,” said 1st Lt. Keisuke Ueda, from Hiroshima. “They know real combat.”

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress earlier this year of a possible foreign military sale to Japan for an initial four F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take-Off and Landing aircraft with an option for an additional 38 aircraft. A delivery schedule is yet to be determined.

Regardless of which jets they will fly, Japan’s pilots are forging relationships with their American hosts and setting the precedence for future joint endeavors.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to train here. We’re learning the American way to fly jets. This is practice for us to someday fight in a joint environment with our allies,” said Ota.

The 162nd Fighter Wing is the “face of the U.S. Air Force to the world” providing the best-trained coalition war-fighting partners for the United States Air Force. The wing trains pilots while developing strategic partnerships and building relationships based on performance, friendship and trust.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Guard Muster brings Arizona together

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brian A. Barbour) Arizona National Guard Soldiers from the 158th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade stand in formation on the field at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium, Dec. 7 in Tempe. The formation, which was part of the Arizona National Guard Muster and Community Expo, was the first...
 
 
NORAD_pict

NORAD prepares to track Santa’s flight

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) — The North American Aerospace Defense Command’s NORAD Tracks Santa website, http://www.noradsanta.org, launched Dec. 1, featuring a mobile version, a holiday countdown, new games a...
 
 

Air Force not planning Involuntary Force Reductions in 2015

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. – The modern Air Force is “feeling some strain” recently, due to its shrinking size and high operations tempo, but there won’t be any more involuntary force-shaping in 2015, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said today. James said she and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark...
 

 

Local Briefs December 19, 2014

NARFE chapter 55 to meet January 12, 11 a.m. – Golden Corral The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Association, Chapter 55, will hold their next monthly luncheon meeting on Monday January 12, 2015 at the Golden Corral, 4380 East 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85711.  The luncheon starts at 11 a.m. and ends about...
 
 

New Commander addresses Airmen of 12th Air Force

To all of the 12th Air Force Community, Happy Holidays! My wife Kristan, my three children, and I are excited to join this outstanding 12th AF community.  I cannot adequately express how honored and humbled I feel to join this community as the Commander.   I certainly appreciate the exceptional efforts of General and Mrs....
 
 
(AFSOUTH)

New commander to take reins of 12th AF, AFSOUTH

Twelfth Air Force and Air Forces Southern will welcome a new commander during a change of command ceremony Dec. 19 at 10 a.m. at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Major Gen. Chris Nowland will be promoted to the rank of lieutenant ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin