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JGSDF Primary Air Unit Order of Battle

(As at April 1, 2020)

ch-47j pairDrafted in from Kisarazu Army Camp, a pair of 106th Sqn CH-47J Chinook heavy-lift helicopters pass each other as they fly members of the public along the runway at Tachikawa.

JGSDF AH-64DA JGSDF ground crew member moves to finish positioning the chocks around the wheels of a Fuji-Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow at Camp Kita-Utsunomiya in May 2013. Primarily for reasons of 
cost and delivery time span, Japan halted the type’s licence production at the 13th airframe.

(All photographs on this website are copyright J-HangarSpace
unless otherwise stated.) 

GROUND STAFF OFFICE (Ichigaya, Tokyo)

Northern Army (HQ: Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture)

Northern Army
Aviation Group
(Okadama, Hokkaido)

Northern Army HQ Flight LR-2

Northern Army
Helicopter Sqn
(Okadama, Hokkaido)

HQ Flt UH-1J
1st Flt UH-1J
2nd Flt

1st Anti-Tank Helicopter Sqn
(Obihiro, Hokkaido)

HQ Flt OH-1
1st Flt AH-1S
2nd Flt
 
Units attached to JGSDF Brigades/Divisions
2nd Div. (Asahikawa) 2nd AvSqn Asahikawa, Hokkaido UH-1J
5th Brigade (Obihiro) 5th AvSqn Obihiro, Hokkaido
7th Div. (Higashi-Chitose) 7th AvSqn Okadama, Hokkaido
11th Brigade (Makonai) 11th AvSqn

jgsdf ah-1s winterA pair of 1st Anti-Tank Helicopter Squadron AH-1S helicopters take part in a winter training exercise.
(Photo: JGSDF)

 uh-1j snowA Fuji-Bell UH-1J assigned to a Northern Army division’s avaiation squadron causes a mini snowstorm
close to a tank column.
(Photo: JGSDF)

Northeastern Army (HQ: Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture)

Northeastern Army
Aviation Group
(Kasuminome, Miyagi)

Northeastern Army
Helicopter Sqn
(Kasuminome, Miyagi)

HQ Flt UH-1J
1st Flt UH-1J
2nd Flt

2nd Anti-Tank Helicopter Sqn
(Hachinohe, Aomori)

HQ Flt OH-1
1st Flt AH-1S
2nd Flt
 
Units attached to JGSDF Divisions
6th Div. (Jinmachi) 6th AvSqn Jinmachi, Yamagata UH-1J
9th Div. (Aomori) 9th AvSqn Hachinohe, Aomori UH-1J

OH-1 KasumigauraAlthough still bearing the Hachinohe-based 2nd Anti-Tank Helicopter Sqn’s “IIATH” code aft of its
cockpit, this OH-1 was being operated at the Kasumigaura Aviation School, Ibaraki Prefecture,
in May 2014. Note the airliner, presumably departing from Ibaraki Airport, being pointed out 
by the tail aerial. All OH-1s were grounded following an accident in December 2015 and
only returned to service in March 2019.
(See Bulletin Board, March 1, 2019)

Eastern Army (HQ: Asaka, Saitama Prefecture)
Eastern Army
Aviation Group
(Tachikawa, Tokyo)

Eastern Army
Helicopter Sqn
(Tachikawa, Tokyo)

HQ Flt OH-1
1st Flt

UH-1J*

2nd Flt

4th Anti-Tank
Helicopter Sqn
(Kisarazu, Chiba)

HQ Flt OH-1
1st Flt AH-1S
2nd Flt
* According to April 2020 issue of Kōkū Fan, also still operating UH-1H 
Units attached to JGSDF Brigades/Divisions
1st Div. (Nerima) 1st AvSqn Tachikawa, Tokyo UH-1J
12th Brigade
(Soumagahara)
12th
Helicopter Unit
Soumagahara, Gunma
(1st Flt at Kita-Utsunomiya,
Tochigi)
HQ Flt UH-1J
1st Flt UH-60JA
2nd Flt CH-47J/JA

EH uh-1jAircraft assigned to the Eastern Army Helicopter Squadron’s 1st Flight have a white “V” nose marking and a single white fuselage stripe.

tachikawa ah-1
(Above) A Fuji-built AH-1S Cobra from the 4th Anti-Tank Helicopter Sqn at Kisarazu Army Camp. (Below) An aircraft from the same unit has its engine changed by Eastern Army Aviation flight maintenance personnel at Tachikawa.

ah-1s engine change

oh-1 tachikawaA ground crew member waves as a Kawasaki OH-1 assigned to the Eastern Army Helicopter Squadron’s HQ Flight inches airborne at Tachikawa Army Camp.

uh-1j tachikawaThe marking on the nose and main fuselage door of this UH-1J denotes an aircraft from the
Tachikawa-based 1st Division’s 1st Aviation Squadron.
 
The following three photos show a Mitsubishi-built UH-60JA stripped down in the maintenance hangar at Kita-Utsunomiya; the tail marking identifies the aircraft as belonging to the
1st Flight of the 12th Helicopter Squadron.

stripped-down uh-60j
stripped-down uh-60ja(2)
stripped-down uh-60ja (3)
uh-60ja kisarazuThe JGSDF received its 40th and newest UH-60JA late in 2016.

Central Army (HQ: Itami, Hyogo Prefecture)

Central Army
Aviation Group
(Yao, Osaka)

Central Army Helicopter Sqn
(Yao, Osaka)

HQ Flt OH-1
1st Flt UH-1J
2nd Flt
3rd Flt* CH-47JA

5th Anti-Tank Helicopter Sqn
(Akeno, Mie)

HQ Flt OH-1
1st Flt AH-1S
 
Units attached to JGSDF Brigades/Divisions
3rd Div. (Senzo) 3rd AvSqn Yao, Osaka UH-1J

10th Div. (Moriyama) 10th AvSqn Akeno, Mie
13th Brigade (Kaitaichi) 13th AvSqn Hofu, Yamaguchi
14th Brigade (Zentsuji) 14th AvSqn Kita-Tokushima, Tokushima

(*) The 3rd Flight formed with two CH-47Js at Camp Yonago/JASDF Miho, Tottori Prefecture, on March 27, 2018. 

Western Army (HQ: Kengun, Kumamoto Prefecture)

Western Army
Aviation Group
(Takayubaru, Kumamoto)

Western Army HQ Flight LR-2

Western Army
Helicopter Sqn
(Metabaru, Saga)

HQ Flt UH-1J
1st Flt UH-60JA
2nd Flt UH-1J
3rd Flt** CH-47J/JA

3rd Anti-Tank Helicopter Sqn
(Metabaru, Saga)

HQ Flt OH-1
1st Flt AH-1S
2nd Flt AH-64D (Note 1)
 
Units attached to JGSDF Brigades/Divisions
4th Div. (Kasuga) 4th AvSqn Metabaru, Saga UH-1J
8th Div. (Kita-Kumamoto) 8th AvSqn Takayubaru, Kumamoto UH-60JA
15th Brigade (Naha) 15th Helicopter Unit Naha, Okinawa

HQ Flt: LR-2
1st Flt: UH-60JA
2nd Flt: CH-47JA

(**) Based at Takayubaru, Kumamoto
Note 1: Imposed following a fatal crash that occurred on February 2, 2018, the flight ban placed on all AH-64Ds was lifted in November 2019.

jgsdf uh-1jWhile implementing extensive mission and command structure changes under a previous Medium-Term Defense Plan, the JGSDF selected the Bell 412EPI for its UH-X requirement to replace the UH-1J workhorse utility helicopter (above)(Photo: JGSDF) 

Central Readiness Force*** (HQ: Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture)

1st Helicopter Brigade***
(Kisarazu, Chiba)

1st Transport
Helicopter Group
103rd Sqn CH-47J/JA
104th Sqn
105th Sqn
106th Sqn
Transport Aviation Group+ CH-47J/JA / (V-22B)
102nd Sqn UH-60JA
Special Transport Helicopter Sqn EC225LP
Liaison/Reconnaissance Flight LR-2

(***) In a move associated with the activation of  the JGSDF’s Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade on April 7, 2018, the command of the 1st Helicopter Brigade passed to the direct command of the Ground Staff Office. 
+ Formed March 26, 2020, in advance of first Osprey arrivals

ch-47grass  A hovering CH-47JA from the Kisarazu-based 1st Transport Helicopter Group kicks up a grass storm.       

jgsdf ec225lp
(Above and below) Two of the three Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) EC225LPs operated by the Special Transport Helicopter Squadron.

ec225

Aviation Schools (HQ: Akeno, Mie Prefecture)
Main Aviation School Akeno AH-1S, AH-64D, CH-47JA, OH-1, TH-480B, UH-1J, UH-60JA
Branch Aviation Schools Kasumigaura, Ibaraki AH-1S, AH-64D, CH-47J, OH-1, UH-1J, UH-60JA
Utsunomiya, Tochigi TH-480B, UH-1J
Training Support Flights Akeno AH-1S, AH-64D, CH-47J/JA, OH-1, UH-1J, UH-60JA
Takigahara, Shizuoka UH-1J

akeno ch-47jaA CH-47JA assigned to the Training Support Flight at Akeno, Mie Prefecture. (Photo: JGSDF)

CH-47J Kasumigaura
Two aircraft assigned to the branch Aviation School at Kasumigaura, Ibaraki Prefecture: an early-model CH-47J  (above), with the school’s “SK” identification code visible aft of the cockpit,
and an AH-64D Apache Longbow (below).

Kasumigaura AH-64D

utsulr-2
The Raytheon (Beechcraft) LR-2 assigned to the branch of the JGSDF Aviation School at
Kita-Utsunomiya speeds in to land, while one of the based Fuji-Bell UH-1Js
(below) stands at ease.
 utsuuh-1h

Research Headquarters (HQ: Asaka, Saitama Prefecture)
Development and Experimental Group Fuji, Shizuoka
Experimental Flying Unit Akeno, Mie OH-1, XUH-2

th-480The latest type to be added to the JGSDF’s inventory is the Enstrom TH-480B training helicopter, 26 of which were in service by mid-January 2015. Interestingly, Enstrom was acquired by China’s Chongqing Helicopter Investment Corporation in January 2013.

th-480wave
RECENT TYPE RETIREMENT

In early 2020 still operated by the 3rd, 4th, 8th, 10th and 13th AvSqns, the 102nd Sqn as well as the HQ Flight of the 12th Helicopter Squadron, which flew the last mission, the OH-6D was officially withdrawn from service on March 31.

Never to be seen again. A lineup of 10th and 13th AvSqn OH-6Ds at the November 2019 Akeno
air show, the last to feature them before the type’s retirement.
(Photo: JGSDF/10th AvSqn)

At a rough guess, something like 14 OH-6Ds will have newly arrived to join those that have long since been awaiting their fate on “death row” in a Kasumigaura hangar. At the time of writing (April 2020), of the 193 OH-6Ds built a total of around 65 remain scattered around the country.

During the type’s service career, a total of 12 aircraft were lost in accidents. The first occurred on May 30, 1983, the last on April 16, 2015, when the tail unit was severed during an emergency landing in a rice paddy in the Miyagino district of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. The aircraft had been on post-maintenance test flight; the pilot and a maintenance team member escaped uninjured. Half of the losses came as the result of midair collisions: on two occasions (July 10, 1987, and March 7, 2002) between two OH-6Ds; on another (February 14, 2001) with an AH-1S; and on yet another (August 21, 1997) with a civilian light aircraft. These four incidents alone tragically claimed the lives of 12 OH-6D crew members. 

oh-6dThe tail marking of this OH-6D denoted an aircraft assigned to the 1st Division’s 1st AvSqn at Tachikawa.

Those still with the JGSDF include six at Kita-Utsunomiya Aviation School formerly used for pilot ground training and maintenance instructional airframe purposes, the latter being a role for which some might yet receive a stay of execution. The type is popular as a gate guardian and around 14 are on display at JGSDF army camps at which there is no based aviation unit.

Aside from one privileged example retained by licensed manufacturer Kawasaki, a number of others have been acquired for technical training purposes at aeronautical colleges or loaned for display in public parks and even nursery schools. As listed on the JGSDF Where Are They Now? page, some are composite aircraft that have been fitted with another’s tailboom.

OH-6D RikuzentakataAn OH-6D from the Northern Region Helicopter Squadron hovers over the scene of devastation in
Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, on April 12, 2011. The building on the left was the pharmacy 
near the station in the city that suffered the most catastrophic damage of any of those affected
by the March 11 tsunami. Like its sister services, the JGSDF plays a vital role as a first
responder and in ongoing rescue operations at times of natural disasters.
(Photo: Japan Ministry of Defense via Wikimedia Commons)

JGSDF Akeno Army Camp, March 17, 2020. 10th AvSqn personnel look on as the unit’s last two
OH-6Ds recede into the distance.
(Photo: JGSDF/10th AvSqn)

logors25

Notices

Announcements

JASDF
Airshows in 2020
Apr. 5  Kumagaya
     (Cancelled)
May 24  Hofu
     (Cancelled)
May 24  Shizuhama
     (Cancelled)
June  Miho
  (Cancelled)  
July 19  Chitose
Aug. 23  Matsushima
Sept.*  Komatsu
Sept.*  Misawa
Oct.*  Ashiya
Oct.*  Hamamatsu
Oct.*  Hyakuri
  (SDF Review)
Oct.*  Komaki
Nov. 3  Iruma
Nov.*  Gifu
Dec.*  Tsuiki
Dec.*  Naha
Dec.*  Nyutabaru

Airshows in 2019
Komaki 2019 poster
Mar. 2  Komaki
Apr. 14  Kumagaya
May 19  Shizuhama
June 2  Hofu-Kita
June 2  Miho
Aug. 4  Chitose
Aug. 25  Matsushima
Sept. 8  Misawa
Sept. 16  Komatsu
Oct. 13  Ashiya
Oct. 20  Hamamatsu
Nov. 3  Iruma
Nov. 9  Komaki
Nov. 10  Gifu 
Nov. 23  Kasuga
Dec. 1  Hyakuri
Dec. 7-8  Naha
Dec. 8  Tsuiki
Dec. 15  Nyutabaru

air-festa-hohu_img2019rs

iruma191103(2)rs

JGSDF
Airshows in 2020
Jan. 12  Narashino
(paratroop display)
Apr. 11 Somagahara

            (Cancelled)
May 24  Okadama
            (Cancelled)
Oct.*  Kisarazu
Oct.*  Metabaru
Oct.*  Yao
Nov.*  Akeno
Nov.*  Tachikawa

Airshows in 2019
narashino1ab2019koukahajimersJan. 13  Narashino
 (paratroop display)
Apr. 13  Kasuminome
Apr. 13  Somagahara
May 12  Takayubaru
June 1  Kasumigaura
June 16  Kita-Utsunomiya
June 23  Okadama
Oct. 6  Metabaru
Nov. 3  Akeno
Nov. 9  Tachikawa
Nov. 17  Naha
Nov. 24  Yao
Dec. 8  Kisarazu

metabaru191006rs

tachikawa191109rs
Tachikawa

JMSDF
Airshows in 2020
Apr. 11 Atsugi
(joint Friendship Day/
                 cancelled)
Apr. 26  Kanoya
                (Cancelled)
May 5  Iwakuni
(joint Friendship Day/
                 cancelled)
Oct.*  Ozuki
Oct.*  Shimofusa
Nov.*  Tokushima

Airshows in 2019
Apr. 27  Atsugi
Apr. 28  Kanoya
May 5  Iwakuni
(joint Friendship Day)
May 18  Maizuru
May 19  Ohmura
July 13-14
          Komatsushima
July 27  Tateyama
Sept. 21  Hachinohe
ozuki191020rs

Oct. 20  Ozuki
Oct. 26 Shimofusa
Nov. 17  Tokushima

oomura190519rs

shimofusa191026rs

(*) Date to be confirmed

(Please note that air show dates are subject to change/cancellation.)

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