JASDF performs F-35 hot-pit refuel at Andersen AFB

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  • By Airman 1st Class Emily Saxton

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force performed their first hot-pit refuel for their F-35A Lightning II, Aug. 28, 2023 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

A hot-pit refuel involves refueling an aircraft with the engines still running. This reduces ground time for aircraft by up to 45 minutes and allows for faster sortie generations.

 “As their military shifts from a defensive only to an offensive capable force, things like hot-refueling and rapid sortie generation aligns them with the U.S. operational capabilities and that of our other partners in the region like Australia and South Korea,” said Master Sgt. Clarence Graves, the section chief of fuels operations assigned to the 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Certifying the JASDF on these operations allows them the ability to project air power more rapidly. Additionally, it would allow for the U.S. to call on them as partners in the case of a contingency situation.

“It shows that our regional coalition partners are evolving their tactics and capabilities in order to maintain peace through deterrence,” said Graves. “If called upon, they are willing and truly able to form a team capable of defeating any threat to freedom, democracy and the right to self-determination.”

In addition to this being their first hot-pit refuel for the JASDF F-35, it was their first time taking their fifth generation platforms outside of Japan.