Japans First F-35 Squadron Achieves Initial Operational Capability

 Japans First F-35 Squadron Achieves Initial Operational Capability

The F-35A Fighter Squadron (Squadron 302) is part of the 3rd Air Regiment and is based at Sanze Air Force Base in northern Honshu Island, according to the US diplomats website on April 1. The team replaced the F-4EJ Ghost II fighter with the F-35A, with a total of 12 F-35A fighters. In January 2018, the first F-35A stealth fighter was deployed at Sanze Air Force Base.

Reported that the teams first four F-35A are produced in the United States, the remaining fighters in Nagoya Mitsubishi Heavy Industries F-35 assembly plant to complete the assembly. Domestic production in Japan is expected to last at least until fiscal year 2022. From April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, six F-35A fighters are expected to be received by air in the coming financial year.

The Japanese government chose the F-35A as the next generation fighter in December 2011, initially ordering 42 fighters. In December 2018, Abe approved the purchase of 147 additional stealth fighters (63 F-35A and 42 F-35B), and F-35B short-range vertical takeoff and landing fighters.

Reported that the current Japanese National Defense Outline and Medium-term Defense Capacity Readiness Plan for the fiscal year 2019-2023 outlined the preliminary plan to purchase 27 F-35A and 18 F-35B in the next five years. The total cost of the 63 additional F-35A and 42 F-35B is likely to exceed $10 billion. The first ship of Japans Maritime Self-Defense Force (JASDF) is expected to be converted into an aircraft carrier capable of carrying F-35B fighters.

Reported that the Japanese Self-Defense Force F-35A and F-35B will be equipped with long-range missiles. Norwegian defense company Konsberg has reached an agreement with the Japanese government to provide the 5th generation long-range precision guided joint strike missile for air-to-air F-35A fleet, which can be mounted in the F-35s built-in capsule. (Compiler/Song Caiping)

The Japanese F-35A stealth fighter plane was the first one assembled in Japan. The picture shows the planes flight. (JASDF website)

Source: Responsible Editor of Reference Message Network: Wang Xu_NBJS8023