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JMSDF Primary Air Unit Order of Battle

(As at April 3, 2018 / Provisional*)

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, 17 aircraft are currently (May 2018)
either engaged in flight testing or assigned to the two flights of the 3rd Fleet Air Squadron,
which started to re-equip on the type in March 2015.
 

JMSDF P-3C 203rd SqnP-3C Orions of the 203rd Naval Air Training Squadron are prepared for takeoff at their Shimofusa base.
The Orion is currently operated by four 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 March 2018, the 58th 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 has two
more US-2s on order, which will take the total production run to eight aircraft.

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

SELF-DEFENSE FLEET HEADQUARTERS
(Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture)

Fleet Air Force (HQ: Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture)
1st Fleet Air Wing
(Kanoya, Kagoshima)
1st Fleet Air Sqn 11th Flight P-3C
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*
(Tateyama)

211th Flight SH-60K
212th Flight SH-60J/K
213th SAR Flight UH-60J
21st SAR Flight
(Iwo To)*
UH-60J

23rd Fleet Air Sqn
(Maizuru, Kyoto)

231st Flight SH-60K

25th Fleet Air Sqn
(Ohminato, Aomori)

251st Flight SH-60J

 

   

22nd Fleet Air Wing
(Omura, Nagasaki)

22nd Fleet Air Sqn*
(Omura)

221st Flight SH-60K
222nd Flight SH-60K
223rd Flight SH-60J
224th SAR Flight UH-60J
22nd SAR Flight
(Kanoya)*
UH-60J

24th Fleet Air Sqn
(Komatsushima, Tokushima)

241st Flight SH-60J
Komatsushima Base Sqn* UH-60J

 

   

31st Fleet Air Wing
(Iwakuni, Yamaguchi)

71st Fleet Air Sqn

US-2
(Single-aircraft rotations to Atsugi currently suspended)

81st Fleet Air Sqn EP-3, OP-3C
91st Fleet Air Sqn 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
61st Fleet Air Squadron (Atsugi, Kanagawa) C-130R, LC-90
111th Fleet Air Squadron (Iwakuni, Yamaguchi) MCH-101

(*) SAR Flight chains of command following reorganization of UH-60J units (see Bulletin Board entry for April 2, 2018) to be confirmed

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 and
another joined U.S. and Indian air elements on Guam for Exercise Malabar the
following month.
(Photo: JMSDF Atsugi)

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

JMSDF UP-3C(Above and 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 and 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)
 lc-90kisarazu 
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 91st FAS on electronic warfare duties, including
those needed during ship air defence training.
 

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
.op-3c

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.

us-2sTwo 71st FAS US-2 rescue amphibians appear to get entangled as they return from flights at
their home base of Iwakuni.

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)

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 could see its constituent two-flight 5th FAS 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)

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 all the unit’s far-flung rescue
detachments were disbanded as part of a reorganization three months later.
(Photo: JMSDF Tateyama)


sh-60kx2
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.
mch-101The 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 coal mine off Nagasaki.
(Photo [Jan. 2018]: 22nd Fleet Air Squadron, JMSDF)

RECENT TYPE RETIREMENTS

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.

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

UNITS REPORTING DIRECT TO MARITIME STAFF OFFICE
(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 Naval Air Training Wing 203rd Naval Air Training Sqn P-3C

Tokushima Naval Air Training Wing
(Tokushima Prefecture)

202nd Naval Air Training Sqn TC-90

Ozuki Naval Air Training Wing
(Yamaguchi Prefecture)

201st Naval Air Training Sqn T-5
 
211th Naval Air Training Squadron Kanoya, Kagoshima SH-60J/K, TH-135
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.

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

JMSDF TH-135 KanoyaFollowing 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 [of aircraft during testing with 51st FAS]: JMSDF Kanoya)

JMSDF 211th SqnAs the sun sinks slowly in the West, preparations are made to tow a 211th Naval Air Training Sqn
SH-60J back to its hangar at Kanoya.
(Photo [Apr. 2017]: Hunini via Wikimedia Commons)

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 flying close to
the Kanmon Bridge (connecting the cities of 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)
Ozuki T-5
Shimofusa  下総

Shimofusa ff160107(Above and 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 and 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)
JMSDF TC-90

RECENT TYPE RETIREMENT

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 Naval 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) 
OH-6DA     
Tateyama

myokoA trio of JMSDF destroyers is headed by the Aegis missile defence system-equipped Myoko; manouvering astern are the helicopter-carrying Hiei and the Amagiri. Launched in August 1973, the Hiei was decommissioned in March 2011. (Photo: JMSDF)

hyugatateymaAnchored offshore from Tateyama AB, the JMSDF helicopter carrier Hyuga receives a
21st Fleet Air Squadron SH-60K helicopter. 

logors25

Notices

Announcements

JASDF
2018 Airshow Dates
Feb. 18  Ashiya
Mar. 3  Komaki
Apr. 8  Kumagaya
May 20  Shizuhama
miho 2018 poster
May 27  Miho
June 3  Hofu-Kita
July 22  Chitose
Aug. 26  Matsushima
Sept. 9  Misawa
Sept. 17  Komatsu
Oct. 14  Ashiya
Nov. 3  Iruma
Nov. 18  Gifu
Nov. 25  Hamamatsu
Nov. 25  Tsuiki
Dec. 2  Hyakuri
Dec. 2  Nyutabaru
Dec. 8-9  Naha

2017 Event Posters
Hofu-Kita / Miho
JASDF Hofu-Kita


Miho poster 2017

2019 Airshow Dates
Mar. *  Komaki
Nov. 3  Iruma

JGSDF
2018 Airshow Dates
Jan. 12  Narashino
 (paratroop display)
Apr. 15  Kasuminome
May 26  Kasumigaura
May 27 Kita-
                Utsunomiya
June 17  Asahikawa
Aug. 26  Fuji live fire
Sept. 9  Kisarazu
Sept. 29  Tachikawa
Oct. 6  Obihiro
Oct. 14  Yao
Nov. 4  Akeno
Nov. 25  Naha 

2017 Event Posters
Kisarazu / Metabaru
Kisarazu 170225

Metabaru 2017

2019 Airshow Dates
Jan. 13  Narashino
 (paratroop display) 

JMSDF
2018 Airshow Dates
Apr. 21  NAF Atsugi
Apr. 30  Kanoya
May 5  Iwakuni
(joint Friendship Day)
May 27  Omura
July 15  Komatsushima
July 21  Maizuru
July 28  Tateyama
Sept. 16  Hachinohe
Sept. 29  Tokushima
Sept. *  Shimofusa
Oct. 21  Ozuki

2017 Event Posters
Ozuki  (July children’s
event / Oct. Swell Festival)
Ozuki event July 2017

Ozuki Swell 2017

(*) Date to be confirmed

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

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