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JMSDF Primary Air Unit Order of Battle

(As at July 1, 2024)

P-1 5505The JMSDF has a requirement for 70 of the Lockheed P-3C Orion’s replacement, the Kawasaki P-1
patrol aircraft. Including the single UP-1 systems testbed/transport aircraft, 35 aircraft are
currently (April 2023) either engaged in manufacturer’s flight testing or assigned to either 
the 3rd Fleet Air Squadron (FAS), which started to re-equip on the type in March 2015,
or the 1st FAS that followed suit in July 2019. 

JMSDF P-3C 203rd SqnP-3C Orions of the 203rd Air Training Squadron are prepared for takeoff at their Shimofusa base.
The Orion is currently operated by two front-line fleet air squadrons.

SH-60K 21st SqnAssigned to the 21st Fleet Air Squadron, 21st Fleet Air Wing, the 10th (eighth production)
SH-60K built tentatively touches down at Tateyama. In December 2023, the 75th SH-60K
was undergoing manufacturer flight testing from Nagoya airport.

Iwakuni US-2The third-built ShinMaywa US-2 rescue amphibian comes to the end of its landing run at Iwakuni.
Having lost an aircraft in a non-fatal ocean landing accident in April 2015, the JMSDF still has
one more US-2 on order, which will take the total production run to nine aircraft.

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

(Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture)

Fleet Air Force (HQ: Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture)
1st Fleet Air Wing
(Kanoya, Kagoshima)
1st Fleet Air Sqn 11th Flight P-1
12th Flight

2nd Fleet Air Wing
(Hachinohe, Aomori)

2nd Fleet Air Sqn 21st Flight P-3C
22nd Flight

4th Fleet Air Wing
(Atsugi, Kanagawa)

3rd Fleet Air Sqn 31st Flight P-1
32nd Flight

5th Fleet Air Wing
(Naha, Okinawa)

5th Fleet Air Sqn 51st Flight P-3C
52nd Flight

21st Fleet Air Wing
(Tateyama, Chiba)

21st Fleet Air Sqn

211th Flight SH-60K
212th Flight SH-60J*/K
Iwo To SAR Detachment UH-60J**

23rd Fleet Air Sqn
(Maizuru, Kyoto)

231st Flight SH-60K

25th Fleet Air Sqn
(Ohminato, Aomori)

251st Flight SH-60K



22nd Fleet Air Wing
(Omura, Nagasaki)

22nd Fleet Air Sqn

221st Flight SH-60K
222nd Flight SH-60K
223rd Flight SH-60J

 24th Fleet Air Sqn
(Komatsushima, Tokushima)

241st Flight   SH-60J

31st Fleet Air Wing
(Iwakuni, Yamaguchi)

71st Fleet Air Sqn


81st Fleet Air Sqn+

811th Flight EP-3, OP-3C
812th Flight UP-3D, U-36A
Target Drone Unit (Etajima, Hiroshima) BQM-34AJ

51st Fleet Air Squadron
(Atsugi, Kanagawa)

511th Flight P-1/UP-1, P-3C, UP-3C
513th Flight SH-60J/K, USH-60K, XSH-60L
61st Fleet Air Squadron (Atsugi, Kanagawa) C-130R, LC-90
111th Fleet Air Squadron (Iwakuni, Yamaguchi) MCH-101
 * Last SH-60J reportedly transferred to 22nd FAW Apr. 1, 2021
 ** Replaced by SAR-variant SH-60Ks, UH-60Js returned to Tateyama,
      last flights took place July 21, 2024
 + See Bulletin Board story dated October 1, 2020

(Photo: Japan Ministry of Defense)

JMSDF Fleet Air Force
Fixed-Wing Aircraft Operations, from North to South

Hachinohe  八戸

Hachinohe P-3C (1)(Above and below) Operating from the northernmost JMSDF P-3C base at Hachinohe, Aomori
Prefecture, the 2nd Fleet Air Squadron (FAS) has to cope with severe winter conditions.
(Photos: JMSDF Hachinohe)

Hachinohe P-3C (2)
Atsugi  厚木

P-1 3rd Sqn JMSDFThe two flights of the 4th Fleet Air Wing’s 3rd FAS have been fully operational on the P-1 since
August 2017. First flown on February 3, 2017, this aircraft performed a display at JMSDF
Tokushima the following September.
(Photo: Hunini via Wikimedia Commons)

Atsugi P-1 ff180109Four 3rd FAS P-1s stream out for the first flight of the New Year, on January 9, 2018. The unit sent
two aircraft to conduct a goodwill exercise with the Philippine Navy around Palawan Island
in May that year and another joined U.S. and Indian air elements on Guam for
Exercise Malabar the following month.
(Photo: JMSDF Atsugi)

JMSDF Atsugi also posted a pilot’s perspective of the first flight of 2018 on YouTube (link).

Then and Now 1: 51st Fleet Air Squadron Kawasaki-Lockheed UP-3C

JMSDF UP-3C(Above & below) Operated by the 51st FAS, the newly built UP-3C was delivered in February 1995.
As identified by the ‘U’ in its designation, the aircraft serves in the utility role as an airborne
systems test-bed and as such has played an important role in the avionics upgrades that
have been progressively given to the active Orion fleet.
(Photo [above]: Japan Ministry of Defense/JMSDF; [below, January 2017] JMSDF Atsugi)

UP-3C Atsugi 51st Sqn

Then and Now 2: 51st Fleet Air Squadron Kawasaki UP-1

(X)P-1 JMSDF(Above & below) What is now the UP-1 first flew as the XP-1 on September 28, 2007, and dropped
the ‘X’ when officially handed over to the 51st FAS on March 12, 2013. The aircraft was given
more of a minimalist colour scheme
(and the serial 9501, below) for its new life as the UP-1,
in which form it flew for the first time on December 19, 2014.
(Photo above [XP-1, Atsugi, Apr. 2012]: ‘Ken H’ via Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo below [UP-1, Hachinohe, Sept. 2015]: ‘Crescent Moon’ via Wikimedia Commons)
UP-1 Hachinohe

C-130R 9502 (2)The most recent addition to the JMSDF inventory is the C-130R. The first of six refurbished former
U.S. Marine Corps KC-130Rs replaced the last two YS-11s with the 61st FAS in December 2014.
(Photo: Japan Ministry of  Defense)

61st Sqn JMSDF LC-90(Above and below) For liaison duties the 61st FAS also operates this Raytheon (Beechcraft) LC-90
(C90 King Air).
(Photo above: JMSDF Atsugi)
Iwakuni  岩国 

Then and Now 3: 71st Fleet Air Squadron ShinMaywa US-2

US-2 prototypeUnlike the prototype XP-1, which has retained an airline-like colour scheme in its now UP-1 guise at
Atsugi, the first two US-2 amphibians had by the end of 2010 had their respective red and white and
blue and white company ‘sword’ colour scheme designs removed and replaced by the now standard
operational scheme.
(Above) What was then the US-1AKai’s first flight was from the sea on
December 18, 2003. The aircraft officially assumed the US-2 designation upon delivery to the
JMSDF, on March 24, 2004. 
(Photo: JMSDF/31st Fleet Air Wing)
(Below) The same aircraft takes to the air from the sea off Iwakuni for the 71st FAS’s first training
flight of the New Year in January 2015.
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Carlos Cruz)

US-2 Iwakuni takeoff
up-3dOne of three UP-3D Orion aircraft operated by the 81st FAS on electronic warfare duties, including
those needed during ship air defence training. These aircraft were formerly with the 91st FAS.

ep-3(Above) Present during a J-HangarSpace visit to Iwakuni in 2012 was one of  five 81st FAS EP-3
aircraft. Easily identifiable by their three dorsal radomes, these aircraft  perform electronic and
signals intelligence (ELINT/SIGINT) gathering duties.
 (Below) Conveniently parked next to
the EP-3 was one of the same unit’s five OP-3C image-gathering aircraft

JMSDF U-36ATwo 91st FAS* U-36As are squeezed into an Iwakuni hangar next to a US-2 enshrouded in
scaffolding to
facilitate maintenance. Of the six Japan-modified Gates Learjet 36As acquired
between 1987 and 1994,
two have been lost in accidents, in February 1991 and May 2003.
Their operations include the towing
of targets and dispensing of chaff for fleet training,
the equipment for which, despite the lack of ground
clearance, is carried on
underwing pylons. The maintenance of this type is carried out at the

ShinMaywa facility at Tokushima Awaodori Airport.

Two 71st FAS US-2 rescue amphibians appear to get entangled as they return to Iwakuni.

* The 91st FAS was merged with the 81st FAS on October 1, 2020.

Kanoya  鹿屋

Kanoya P-3C Orion ffAircraft from the 1st FAS venture across the dismally rainswept tarmac of their home base prior to
departure on the first training flight of the year in January 2016.
(Photo: JMSDF Kanoya)

P-3C at MihoIn somewhat better weather conditions, a standard P-3C from the 1st FAS was present at the
JASDF Miho airshow in late May 2018.
(Photo: Hunini via Wikimedia Commons)

Likely inspired by a JASDF/U.S. Air Force promo event at Misawa AB, the 4th FAW at
Kanoya staged its own “elephant walk” photo opp on December 17, 2020.

(Photo: JMSDF Public Affairs Office via Twitter @JMSDF_PAO) 

Naha 那覇

Naha P-3C over oceanAlthough the last patrol squadron to form on the P-3C Orion, the increased activity in the
5th Fleet Air Wing’s zone of operations will likely result in its constituent two-flight
5th FAS being the next in line to receive the P-1.
(Photo: JMSDF Naha)

P-3C water spray NahaThe 101st and last P-3C built by Kawasaki, which was delivered in September 1997, moves across
spray equipment embedded in the taxiway at Naha in a standard procedure designed to remove the
salt deposits that accumulate on overwater missions.
(Photo: JASDF Naha Facebook, Nov. 22, 2017)

JMSDF Fleet Air Force
Helicopter Operations, from North to South

Ohminato  大湊

JMSDF Ohminato SH-60J(Above and below) Following the disbandment of the Ohminato search and rescue detachment of the
73rd Fleet Air Squadron (FAS) in April 2018
(see Bullletin Board), the SH-60Js of the 25th FAS are
the sole helicopters resident at Ohminato. 
(Photo [above, September 2013]: Amayagan via

Wikimedia Commons; [below, January 2018] JMSDF Ohminato)
Ohminato Jan. 2018

Atsugi  厚木

JMSDF Atsugi SH-60KTwo 51st FAS SH-60Ks fly past the Landmark Tower building in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, in
January 2017. Nearest the camera and probably not coincidentally assigned to the 51st, the 51st
SH-60K built was funded under the supplementary fiscal 2012 budget and flight tested in the
summer of 2016. Now the sole USH-60K utility testbed*, the other aircraft started life as the
first improved SH-60J
Kai that commenced flight trials on March 27, 2001, and was one of 
two aircraft that were used on the development programme of what in 2005 was to
officially become known as the SH-60K.
 (Photo: JMSDF Atsugi)

* Having morphed once again in 2020, this aircraft is currently undergoing tests by the
Japan Ministry of Defense as the XSH-60L.

Tateyama  館山

JMSDF Tateyama ffAirborne from Tateyama, the 21st Fleet Air Wing helicopters launched on the first training flight
of the year pass over a typical Chiba Prefecture village on January 11, 2018. This was to be the
last time a representative UH-60J from the 73rd FAS would take part, as the JMSDF’s
SAR elements underwent a reorganization three months later.
(Photo: JMSDF Tateyama)

A pair of 21st FAS Mitsubishi-built Sikorsky SH-60Ks come home to roost.

Maizuru  舞鶴

JMSDF Maizuru SH-60A pair of 23rd FAS helicopters above the layer of morning fog that is an often-seen phenomenon at
Maizuru’s coastal location. Nearest the camera is an SH-60J, which differs externally from the
SH-60K in lacking the stub wing; the 23rd now only flies the later version.
(Photo [Jan. 2014]: JMSDF Helicopter Squadron 23)

23rd FAS JMSDFAs the JMSDF destroyer Asagiri (Morning Fog, DD-151) glides serenely past in the background, 
the ground crewman acknowledges the pilot’s signal that the No. 2 engine has reached 10%
power during the preflight preparations of a 23rd FAS SH-60K at Maizuru.
(Photo [Feb. 2015]: JMSDF Helicopter Squadron 23)

23 Sqn SH-60KThe 23rd FAS SH-60K featured in the top photo was seen on a visit to the JASDF base at Komaki,
Aichi Prefecture, in February 2014.

Komatsushima  小松島

JMSDF SH-60 KomatsushimaA 24th FAS SH-60J flies over part of the system of bridges that connect the Japanese ‘mainland’ 
island of Honshu with Shikoku, where Komatsushima is located. In March 2005, this aircraft
was the 103rd and last SH-60J accepted by the JMSDF before switching to the SH-60K.
(Photo [Jan. 2018]: 24th Fleet Air Squadron, JMSDF)

Iwakuni  岩国

MCH-101(Above and below) The JMSDF had planned for the 111th FAS to be ultimately equipped with 14
AgustaWestland (M)CH-101helicopters. Including three CH-101s, the last of 13 aircraft was
delivered in March 2017, at the end of a delivery process that had lasted 11 years.
Omura  大村

Omura Battleship IslandOne of a pair of 22nd FAS SH-60Js appears to attempting a landing on so-called Gunkanjima
(Battleship Island), the time capsule site of the controversial wartime Hashima coa
mine off Nagasaki.
(Photo [Jan. 2018]: 22nd Fleet Air Squadron, JMSDF)


Last US-1A IwakuniSeen on the ramp at its Iwakuni base in January 2017, the last-built US-1A was also the last
withdrawn from service 11 months later, after its final flight on December 13, 2017.
(Photo: JMSDF Iwakuni)
(See this website’s
Bulletin Board report for that day) 

jmsdfys-11Having first flown on February 17, 1968, this YS-11M was still providing sterling service with the
61st Fleet Air Squadron early in 2013, a full 45 years later. The last two JMSDF examples were
flown for the last time, from Atsugi to Shimofusa, on December 26, 2014.

(Ichigaya, Tokyo)

Ohminato Naval District

Shipborne helicopters assigned from 21st/22nd Fleet Air Wing units listed above.
(CH-101 from Antarctic survey ship Shirase, which comes under
Yokosuka Naval District command, shore-based at Iwakuni.)

Yokosuka Naval District
Maizuru Naval District
Kure Naval District
Sasebo Naval District
Air Training Command (HQ Shimofusa, Chiba Prefecture)
Shimofusa Air Training Wing 203rd Air Training Sqn P-3C

Tokushima Air Training Wing
(Tokushima Prefecture)

202nd Air Training Sqn TC-90

Ozuki Air Training Wing
(Yamaguchi Prefecture)

201st Air Training Sqn T-5
211th Air Training Squadron


Kanoya, Kagoshima

212th Air Training Squadron SH-60K
3rd Technical School Shimofusa, Chiba

Note: JMSDF aviation units are often designated by U.S. Navy-style role abbreviations, e.g. VP- for patrol squadrons, and bear nicknames derived from their radio call signs.

The design selected to mark the 60th anniversary of the JMSDF Air Training Command in 2021.
(Image: JMSDF Air Training Command via Twitter @jmsdf_atrc)

JMSDF Direct Reporting/Naval Air Training Squadron Operations

Ohminato JMSDF SH-60JAn SH-60J from the Tateyama-based 21st FAS hovers over Mutsu Bay, Aomori Prefecture, while
assigned to an Ohminato Naval District vessel.
(Photo: JMSDF Ohminato Naval District)

Kanoya  鹿屋 

211th ATS TH-135Following the retirement of the Hughes OH-6DA (see below), the now Airbus Helicopters TH-135
(based on the former Eurocopter EC135T2+) is the JMSDF’s standard training type; 15
were delivered over a six-year period from 2009. The two-part training course on the
TH-135 at Kanoya lasts 50 weeks.
(Photo: Maritime Staff Office, JMSDF)

Ozuki  小月

Kanmon Bridge T-5(Above and below) The last of the 67 Fuji T-5 trainers built was delivered in 2015, more than 30
years after the prototype’s first flight in June 1984. Several earlier examples, like that shown
in flight close to the Kanmon Bridge (connecting Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, and
Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture), have been withdrawn from use, but all active aircraft
are operated from Ozuki by the 201st ATS.
(Photos: JMSDF Ozuki)

JMSDF Ozuki posted a video of the first flight of 2018 on YouTube (link).
Ozuki T-5
Shimofusa  下総

Shimofusa ff160107(Above & below) The 203rd ATS at Shimofusa in Chiba Prefecture serves as the JMSDF’s central
P-3C training centre. After six months of instrument flying training on TC-90s at Tokushima
(see below), trainee pilots complete another six-month course at Shimofusa before
being assigned to a front-line squadron. 
(Photos: [above] Jan. 2016; [below] Jan. 2018: JMSDF Shimofusa)

Shimofusa ff2018
Tokushima  徳島

Tokushima ff2018(Above & below) Undeterred by the weather, 202nd ATS personnel prepare TC-90s for the first
training flight of 2018* from Tokushima, which like JMSDF Naha shares its
runway with airport operations.
(Photos: JMSDF Tokushima)

(*) The base also posted a short video of the occasion on YouTube (link).


111sqnhh-53A Sikorsky MH-53E minesweeping helicopter of the 111th FAS makes an impressive sight as it
heads out for takeoff. A sight that was seen no more following the type’s retirement on March 3, 2017.

JMSDF OH-6DAHaving previously operated 17 Kawasaki-built OH-6Js and ‘Ds, the last of eight
Hughes OH-6DAs
 (above) was officially decommissioned on March 31, 2016.
On February 12, 2015, one of the five remaining aircraft operated by the 211th Air Training
Sqn had come down in the densely forested mountainous area of Ebino, Miyazaki Prefecture;
the crash tragically claimed the lives of all three crew members.
(Photos [below OH-6D]: JMSDF) 

Helicopter-Capable Ships of the JMSDF

Ise RIMPAC 2014The helicopter carrier JS Ise in close formation as one of 42 ships and submarines from 15 nations
that participated in the month-long Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, the largest of its kind,
held in the summer of 2014 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and off Southern California.
Having started in 1971, RIMPAC 2014 was the 24th exercise in the series.
(Photo: U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shannon Renfroe)

(1)  Vessels Equipped with Flight Decks

 Izumo-Class Helicopter Carriers (DDH)                                                                         
     (Full-load displacement: 27,000 tonnes; Helicopter/crew complement: 9*/970**)
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Izumo/183 Aug. 2013  Mar. 2015   Homeported in Yokosuka
Kaga/184 Aug. 2015  Mar. 2017   Kure

(*) Standard seven ASW and two SAR helicopters, five of which can take off/land at same time;
      maximum 14-helicopter operation;  (**) Total of crew and troops 

Izumo JMSDFThe Izumo about to undergo replenishment at sea with the Takanami-class destroyer Sazanami (top)
in attendance. The first of two 24,000-tonne helicopter carriers, the
Izumo began her sea trials
in September 2014 and was commissioned on March 25, 2015. As can be seen from the
appropriately bird’s feet-like markings on the flight deck, helicopters can be ranged at
five active stations
(below) . (Photos: JMSDF)


 Hyūga-Class Helicopter Carriers (DDH)   /  (19,000 tonnes; 4***/347)    
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Hyūga/181 Aug. 2007  Mar. 2009   Homeported in Maizuru
Ise/182 Aug. 2009  Mar. 2011   Yokosuka
(***) Standard three SH-60K and one MCH-101, three of which can take off/land at same time;
          maximum 11-helicopter operation 

Hyuga 23rd SqnA 23rd FAS SH-60K departs Maizuru one morning in January 2016 with the helicopter carrier
Hyūga visible in port in the background. The Hyūga-class carrier decks have
markings for four helicopters. (Photo: JMSDF)

Ise (JMSDF)The Ise was commissioned in March 2011 as the second of the JMSDF’s 19,000-tonne Hyuga-class
helicopter-carrying destroyers.
 (Photo: JMSDF)

JMSDF PAO IseSH-60K helicopters operating from the Ise during the joint Japan-US-India Exercise Malabar 2018
that took place in the waters off Guam in June.
 (Photo: Public Affairs Office, JMSDF)

 Ōsumi-Class Tank Landing Ships (LST)  /  (14,000 tonnes; 8/138[See note]) 
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
 Ōsumi/4001 Nov. 1996  Mar. 1998  All homeported in Kure
Shimokita/4002  Nov. 2000  Mar. 2002   
Kunisaki/4003 Dec. 2001 Feb. 2003  
 (Note) Can carry up to 1,000 troops, depending on mission duration. 

LST-4001 OsumiFlight operations from the hangar-less Ōsumi class, which can handle CH-47 and Osprey rotorcraft,
are confined to the stern deck. The area occupied by the JGSDF helicopters here is normally given
over to trucks and equipment when the vessels participate in disaster relief operations.
(Photo: JMSDF via Wikimedia Commons)

(2)  Vessels Equipped with Hangar/Deck for Single Helicopter Operations

 Atago– and Maya-Class Guided-Missile Destroyers (DDG)  /  (10,000 tonnes; 1×SH-60K/300)
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Atago/177 Aug. 2005  Mar. 2007   Homeported in Maizuru
Ashigara/178 Aug. 2006  Mar. 2008   Sasebo
Maya/179 July 2018 Mar. 2020  (Improved Atago-class)
Haguro/180 July 2019 Mar. 2021  

Ashigara JMSDFThe Ashigara accompanied by the Aegis weapons system-equipped destroyer Kongō with
Umigiri (DD-158) bringing up the rear. (Photo: JMSDF)

 Asahi-Class Guided-Missile Destroyers (DDG)   /  (6,800 tonnes; 1×SH-60K/230)    
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Asahi/119 Oct. 2016  Mar. 2018   Homeported in Sasebo
Shiranui/120 Oct. 2017  Feb. 2019   Homeported in Ohminato

JMSDF AsahiThe Asahi, one of the latest additions to the JMSDF fleet, at her berth at the Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries dockyard in Nagasaki in late November 2017, four months before officially
entering service.
(Photo: Hunini via Wikimedia Commons)

 Akizuki-Class Guided-Missile Destroyers (DD)  /  (6,800 tonnes; 1×SH-60K/200) 
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
 Akizuki/115 Oct. 2010  Mar. 2012  Homeported in Sasebo
Teruzuki/116  Sept. 2011  Mar. 2013   Yokosuka 
Suzutsuki/117 Oct. 2012 Mar. 2014  Sasebo 
Fuyuzuki/118 Aug. 2012  Maizuru 

JMSDF AkizukiA helicopter pilot’s eye view of the stern of the Akizuki (Photo: JMSDF)

 Takanami-Class Guided-Missile Destroyers (DD)  /  (6,300 tonnes; 1×SH-60K/175) 
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
 Takanami/110 July 2001 
Mar. 2003
 Homeported in Yokosuka
Ōnami/111  Sept. 2001   Yokosuka 
Makinami/112 Aug. 2002 Mar. 2004  Ohminato
Sazanami/113 Aug. 2003 Feb. 2005  Kure
Suzunami/114 Aug. 2004 Feb. 2006  Ohminato

Suzunami JMSDFSuzunami under way (Photo: JMSDF)
JMSDF TakanamiAn SH-60K assigned to the Takanami is prepared for launch prior to the ship
entering port in Guam.
(Photo: Maritime Staff Office, JMSDF)

 Murasame-Class Guided-Missile Destroyers (DDG)  /  (6,100 tonnes; 1×SH-60K/165)
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Murasame/101 Aug. 1994  Mar. 1996   Homeported in Yokosuka
Harusame/102 Oct. 1995  Mar. 1997   Yokosuka
Yudachi/103 Aug. 1997 Mar. 1999  Sasebo
Kirisame/104  Sasebo
Inazuma/105 Sept. 1998 Mar. 2000  Kure
Samidare/106  Kure
Ikazuchi/107 June 1999 Mar. 2001  Yokosuka
Akebono/108 Sept. 2000 Mar. 2002  Kure
Ariake/109 Oct. 2000  Sasebo

historic landingA UH-60 Blackhawk assigned to the U.S. Army Aviation Battalion Japan sits aboard the fantail of
Murasame in the Pacific Ocean on September 1, 2013, following the first landing by a
U.S. Army helicopter on a Japanese ship.
(Photo: U.S. Army)

cross-decking SH-60KA cross-decking SH-60K helicopter from the Inazuma is securely chocked and chained after landing
aboard another guided-missile destroyer, the USS
Michael Murphy, in February 2015.
(U.S. Navy/Fire Controlman Second Class Jonathan Carrillo)

A 21st FAS SH-60J lifts off from the helideck of the destroyer Harusame during anti-piracy
direct escort duties in the Arabian Gulf. The most recent of the Yokosuka-based ship’s
four deployments since 2009 was from November 2019 to June 2020.

(Photo [undated]: Japan Ministry of Defense/JMSDF)

 Asagiri-Class Guided-Missile Destroyers (DDG)   /  (4,900 tonnes; 1×SH-60K [See note] / 220)    
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Asagiri/151 Sept. 1986  Mar. 1988   Homeported in Maizuru
Yamagiri/152 Oct. 1987  Jan. 1989   Yokosuka
Sept. 1987
Feb. 1989  Yokosuka
Amagiri/154 Mar. 1989  Yokosuka 
Hamagiri/155 June 1988 Jan. 1990  Ohminato
Setogiri/156 Sept. 1988 Feb. 1990  Ohminato
Sawagiri/157 Nov. 1988 Mar. 1990  Sasebo
Umigiri/158 Nov. 1989 Mar. 1991  Kure
 Note: Hangar capable of accommodating two helicopters

JMSDF UmigiriLooking spic and span, the ninth and last of the Asagiri class, the Umigiri (nearest camera), forms
part of an impressive flotilla at sea during annual fleet review preparations. Off her starboard 
beam is the
Sazanami (DD-113), herself flanked by the Samidare (DD-106) and Shimakaze
(DD-172). Identifiable in the centre background is the Ikazuchi (DD-107). (Photo: JMSDF)

Setogiri SH-60JThe Setogiri’s then SH-60J during an anti-piracy mission in the Arabian Gulf. Late in 2017, it was
the turn of sister ship
Amagiri to take part in operations that date back to the
first deployment in March 2009.
(Photo: JMSDF)

Milestone celebrations are not confined to JMSDF land bases. While taking part in an
open-ocean training exercise on February 28, 2021, the guided missile destroyer
Yūgiri marked the 6,000th time that a helicopter had safely landed on its deck.
(Photo: JMSDF Public Affairs Office via Twitter @JMSDF_PAO)

(3) Vessels Equipped with Helicopter Deck Only (No Hangar)

 Kongō-Class Aegis Guided-Missile Destroyers (DDG)  /  (9,500 tonnes / 300) 
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
 Kongō/172 Sept. 1991  Mar. 1993  Homeported in Sasebo
Kirishima/173  Aug. 1993  Mar. 1995   Yokosuka 
Myōkō/175 Oct. 1994 Mar. 1996  Maizuru 
Chōkai/176 Aug. 1996  Mar. 1998  Sasebo

Maizuru trainingMembers of the public watch from the Maizuru-based Aegis destroyer Myōkō as an SH-60K dunks
its sonar during an event organized by the local naval district in July 2014.
(Photo: JMSDF)

 Hatakaze-Class Guided-Missile Destroyers (DD)  /  (6,000 tonnes / 260) 
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Hatakaze/171 Nov. 1984 Mar. 1986  Homeported in Yokosuka
Shimakaze/172 Jan. 1987 Mar. 1988  Maizuru

HatakazeHatakaze (Photo: JMSDF)

 Mogami-Class Frigate (FFM)  /  (3,900 tonnes / 90) 
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Mogami/1 Mar. 2021 Apr. 2022  Class has hangar and deck for one SH-60K
Kumano/2 Nov. 2020 Mar. 2022  
Noshiro/3 June 2021  Dec. 2022  
Mikuma/4  Dec. 2021  Mat. 2023  
Yahagi/5 June 2022  (Dec. 2023)  
Agano/6  Dec. 2022  (Mar.2024)  
Niyodo/7 Sept. 2023 (Dec. 2024)  
Yūbetsu/8 Nov. 2023 (Mar. 2025)  
In August 2017, the Japan Ministry of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency announced a requirement for a new eight-vessel fleet of 3,900-ton frigate-size, stealthy, multi-mission vessels to enter service over the next decade. These are intended to replace ships of the Asagiri and Abukuma class. 
The January 2019 issue of Kōkū Fan magazine reported that a contract for two ships had been announced on November 1, 2018, for commissioning in March 2022; these were laid down at separate dockyards on October 29, 2019. Funding for two more vessels in this class was included in the FY2019 budget formally announced in January 2019; these were laid down at MHI’s Nagasaki shipyard on July 15, 2020. The fifth and sixth vessels were laid down in June 2021, the seventh and eighth in June and August 2022, respectively.

The Kumano on the day she was launched at Mitsui Shipbuilding’s Tamano shipyard in
Okayama Prefecture, November 2020. (Photo: Hunini via Wikimedia Commons)

The naming and launching ceremony for the Mikuma, the fourth Mogami-class frigate,
took place at Mitsubishi’s Nagasaki shipyard on December 12, 2021.
The ship is named after a river in Oita Prefecture.

(Photo: JMSDF Public Affairs Office via Twitter @JMSDF_PAO)

 Hatsuyuki-Class Guided-Missile Destroyers (DD)  /  (4,200 tonnes / 200)
 Only five of original 12-vessel fleet remain in service, and three of those are now
 Kure-based training vessels
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Yamayuki July 1984  Mar. 1996   Formerly DD-129, converted to training
 vessel TV-3519 in 2016
Matsuyuki/130 Oct. 1984  Mar. 1997   Homeported in Kure
Setoyuki June 1999 Mar. 2001  Formerly DD-131, converted to training
 vessel TV-3518 in 2012
Asayuki/132 Oct. 1985 Feb. 1987  Homeported in Sasebo
Shimayuki Jan. 1986  Formerly DD-133, converted to training
 vessel TV-3513 in 1999

HatsuyukiThe dwindling number of veteran Hatsuyuki-class ships, such as the Matsuyuki,
date back to the Sea King helicopter era.
(Photo: JMSDF)

 Towada-Class Fleet Replenishment Oilers (AOE)   /  (12,100 tonnes / 140)    
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Towada/422 Mar. 1986  Mar. 1987   Homeported in Kure
Tokiwa/423 May 1988  Mar. 1989   Yokosuka
Hamana/424 July 1988 May 1989  Sasebo
 Can accept landings by large-class helicopters and be converted to a helicopter transport

Towada(Photo: JMSDF)

 Mashu-Class Fleet Replenishment Oilers (AOE)   /  (25,000 tonnes / 145)    
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Mashu/425 Feb. 2003  Mar. 2004   Homeported in Maizuru
Ōmi/426 Feb. 2004  Mar. 2005   Sasebo
 Can accept up to 1×MCH-101

JMSDF MashuThe Mashu refuels the guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG-52). (Photo: JMSDF)

 Uraga-Class Minesweeper Tender (MST)   /  (25,000 tonnes / 145)    
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Uraga/463 May 1996  Mar. 1997   Homeported in Maizuru
Bungo/464 Apr. 1997  Mar. 1998   Sasebo

Bungo JMSDF(Above) Although the Uraga class is equipped with a hangar-like structure forward of the flight
deck, this is apparently not used to stow a helicopter.
(Below) An MCH-101 hovers over the
flight deck of the
Bungo. (Photos: JMSDF)

Bungo MCH-101

 Submarine Rescue Ships (ASR) 
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Chihaya/403 Oct. 1998  Mar. 2000  (6,900 tonnes/125) Homeported in Kure
Chiyoda/404 Oct. 2016  Mar. 2018   (7,100 tonnes) Homeported in Yokosuka,
 replaced Chiyoda (ASR-405), which had
 been in service since 1985 

Kure Chihaya JMSDFThe submarine rescue ship Chihaya at her home port of Kure in September 2012.

 Antarctic Research Icebreaker (AGB)  /  (20,000 tonnes; up to 3×CH-101/175)
Name/Bow No. Launched Commissioned  Notes
Shirase/5003 Apr. 2008 May 2009  Homeported in Yokosuka

 Operated by the JMSDF, Shirase is the fourth vessel used for operations in the Antarctic and the
 second to bear the name of Japanese Antarctic explorer Nobu Shirase (1861–1946), who also

 had a glacier named after him. Aside from the crew, the ship can accommodate up to 80 scientists.

Shirase (1)Shirase (Photo: JMSDF)

nakyoku58-03crs(Above) A scene aboard Shirase’s helicopter deck during the 58th Antarctic expedition, which lasted
from November 2016 to April 2017. Preparing the resident CH-101 for flight involves the laborious
tasks of winching cases containing the main rotor blades onto the deck and then manually attaching
the blades, in not the most ideal conditions, to the rotor head
(below). The Shirase returned from
the 62nd Antarctic expedition in February 2021.
(Photos: JMSDF)

Shirase (2)Shirase crew members appreciating some shore leave while ‘on exercise’. (Photo: JMSDF)




Air Shows in 2024
Jan. 20  Iruma
Mar. 3  Komaki
Mar. 24  Kumagaya
May 19  Shizuhama
May 26  Miho
June 2  Hofu-Kita
Aug. 25 Matsushima
Sept. 8  Misawa
Sept. 15  Chitose
Sept. 23  Komatsu
Oct. 6  Ashiya
Oct. 27  Hamamatsu
Nov. 3  Iruma
Nov. 17  Gifu
Nov. 24  Tsuiki
Dec. 1  Nyutabaru
Dec. 8  Hyakuri
Dec.*  Naha
* To be confirmed

Air Shows in 2023
Mar. 5  Komaki
Apr. 2  Kumagaya

May 28  Miho
May 28  Shizuhama
June 3  Nara
               (Open Day)
June 4  Hofu
July 30  Chitose
Aug. 27  Matsushima
Sept. 10  Misawa
Sept. 24  Akita
Oct. 7  Komatsu
Oct. 15  Ashiya
Oct. 29  Hamamatsu
Nov. 12  Gifu
Nov. 26  Tsuiki
Dec. 3  Nyutabaru
Dec. 10  Naha
Dec. 17  Hyakuri

Air Shows in 2024
Jan. 7  Narashino
 (paratroop display)
Apr. 6  Kasuminome
Apr. 6  Utsunomiya
Apr. 13  Somagahara
May 19  Takayubaru

June 1
June 30  Okadama
Oct.*  Tachikawa
Nov. 10  Akeno
* To be confirmed 

Air Shows in 2023

Apr. 8 Somagahara
May 27  Kita-
June 3  Kasumigaura
June 11  Obihiro
July 2  Okadama

Aug. 5  Kasuminome
Oct. 1   Kisarazu
Oct. 29  Tachikawa

Nov. 4  Akeno

Air Shows in 2024
Apr. 20  Atsugi
  (US Navy/JMSDF)
Apr. 28  Kanoya
May 5  Iwakuni
(Joint Friendship Day)
July 21  Tateyama
July 28  Hachinohe
* To be confirmed 

Air Shows in 2023
Apr. 15  Iwakuni
(Joint Friendship Day)
Apr. 22  Atsugi

Apr. 30  Kanoya
May 28 Omura
July 23  Tateyama
Sept. 2  Maizuru
Sept. 17  Hachinohe
Oct. 1  Ozuki
Oct. 21  Shimofusa
Nov. 18  Tokushima


JASDF 2022









JASDF 2019

Komaki 2019 poster



JGSDF 2022


Narashino 2019
 (paratroop display)


JMSDF 2022







Ozuki 2019



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


Asian Air Arms

The Aviation Historian

Nabe3’s Aviation Pages


Japan Association of Aviation Photo-

(Site dedicated to displayed aircraft in Asia)


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