Editor’s Note: It’s not just the Air Force and Navy who get the good deals in the fighter world! VMFA-314, the Black Knights, had the opportunity to fly dissimilar air combat training, or DACT, against F-15C Eagles from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force. While we’ve talked about Hornets fighting Vipers, etcetera, the Eaglejet is not one to be underestimated, especially in capable hands. As one of our own, a Super Hornet pilot found out very recently, the Eagle–though it may be old–is a BFM machine!

Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 executed dissimilar air combat training and bilateral tactical mission training during the Komatsu Aviation Training Relocation exercise at Komatsu Air Base, Japan, March 7-18, 2016.

Komatsu ATR is a dissimilar air combat training exercise allowing pilots with diverse aircraft to simulate aerial warfare and execute basic fighter maneuvers, aircraft tactical intercepts and offensive-defensive counter air missions in preparation for real wartime situations.

VMFA-314, known as the “Black Knights,” trained with Japan Air Self-Defense Force to execute theater security cooperation and increase operational readiness for the U.S. and Japanese forces.

Black Knights Fly Against Japanese F-15s
Capt. Robert Ahern, a F/A-18 pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 “Black Knights,” shows an F/A-18 aircraft to Japan Air Self-Defense Force members during the Komatsu Aviation Training Relocation exercise at Komatsu Air Base, Japan, March 17, 2016. (USMC Photo)

The squadron is home based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, and forward deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan with the unit deployment program.

“ATRs are an important part of our training because it allows us to establish relationships and understand the strengths and weaknesses on both the U.S and Japanese side,” said Lt. Col. Gregory A. McGuire, commanding officer of VMFA-314. “It’s never a good idea to show up to a fight without understanding what your partner or opponent is capable of.”

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By exploiting each other’s strengths and weaknesses, both the U.S. and Japanese pilots can learn from one another and be prepared for real world situations.

The original article in its entirety can be viewed right here.

(Featured photo courtesy of United States Marine Corps/Corporal Nicole Zurbrugg)