Not the most interesting photo, this 3 Kokutai Orion, but the P-3C is the most numerous type in service with the JMSDF. Unfortunately the Orions lost their colourful squadron markings starting shortly after the turn of the century. Until recently nine operational squadrons as well as one test squadron (51 Kokutai) and one training squadron (203 Kyoiku Kokutai) operated the P-3, however one (8 Kokutai) was disbanded in March 2001. Following the reorganisations that took place in March 2008 only four frontline P-3 squadrons remain.

Atsugi, 17 April 2010, Hans Rolink

Much more interesting is this one of a kind UP-3C operated by 51 Kokutai for all sorts of test and evaluation flights. The dedicated test squadron is also operating a handful of normal Orions but this special version is the most colourful and the only one marked with the finflash of 51 Kokutai.

Atsugi, 19 April 2010, Menno Teunisse

The first XP-1 in a red/white colour-scheme which is usual for all Japanese prototypes. During the first half of 2015 it was modified to UP-1 configuration and re-serialled 9501.

Atsugi, 19 April 2010, Menno Teunisse

Atsugi (RJTA)

RWY 01/19     POS 35°27'17"N 139°27'01"E     ELEV 205 ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

4 Kokugun
4th Fleet Air Wing
3 Kokutai
31 Hikotai P-1 3
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

4 Kokugun
4th Fleet Air Wing

32 Hikotai P-1 3
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

31 Kokugun
31st Fleet Air Wing
51 Kokutai
511 Hikotai P-1
UP-1
P-3C
UP-3C
51
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

31 Kokugun
31st Fleet Air Wing

513 Hikotai SH-60J
SH-60K
USH-60K
51
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

31 Kokugun
31st Fleet Air Wing
61 Kokutai
LC-90
C-130R
61
Overhaul facilities
NIPPI Corporation
NIPPI Aircraft Maintenance Division Overhaul on:
P-3 all variants
3 Kokutai has radio call-sign SeaEagle.
51 Kokutai use radio call-sign Frontier and Peacock.

A unique and very impressing aircraft in the JMSDF was the Shin Maywa US-1A flying boat. The US-1A is the Search and Rescue variant of the PS-1 ASW flying boat. Twenty US-1s have been procured between 1975 and 2000 serving with the 71 Kokutai at Iwakuni which was formed on 1 July 1976. The eighth newest US-1s were in service at any given time. The US-1A is fully replaced by the US-2 which is a modernised US-1. Five have been constructed to date. The last US-1A was retired in December 2017.

Iwakuni, 12 September 2008, Mori Masayoshi

Gifu (RJNG)

RWY 10/28     POS 35°23'39"N 136°52'08"E     ELEV 128 ft

Miscellaneous Wing Squadron Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Overhaul facilities
Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Kawasaki Gifu Overhaul on:
CH-101
MCH-101
P-3 all variants

Two other boring grey Orions, in front 5001, the first ever JMSDF Orion with 2 Kokutai marks and next to it an unmarked example. The first three are real Lockheed Orions, built in the States, all other Japanese versions were manufactured under licence by Kawasaki at Gifu and with their own construction number range. In October 2009, the JMSDF lost only their second Orion and this time not due to a crash but by their own hands. 5002 was brutaly broken up at Atsugi after being withdrawn from use in April. Overhaul is performed at Gifu and a handful of unmarked examples is allways present.

Hachinohe April 2010, Menno Teunisse

Hachinohe (RJSH)

RWY 07/25     POS 40°33'07"N 141°28'02"E     ELEV 152 ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

2 Kokugun
2nd Fleet Air Wing
2 Kokutai
21 Hikotai P-3C 2
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

2 Kokugun
2nd Fleet Air Wing

22 Hikotai P-3C 2
2 Kokutai has radio call-sign Odin.

The replacement for the US-1A. Originally flown as the US-1A Kai, a modernised version of the original, it is now in low rate production as the US-2. This example is the second frame and pictured here still in test colour scheme. The first one had the "standard" red/white prototype scheme but today all US-2s are in the midnight blue c/s, making it a little less impressive in my opinion.

Iwakuni, 12 September 2008, Mori Masayoshi

Iwakuni (RJOI)

RWY 02/20     POS 34°08'42"N 132°14'49"E     ELEV 10ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

31 Kokugun
31st Fleet Air Wing
71 Kokutai
US-2 71
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

31 Kokugun
31st Fleet Air Wing
81 Kokutai
EP-3
OP-3C
81
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

31 Kokugun
31st Fleet Air Wing
91 Kokutai
UP-3D
U-36A
91
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

31 Kokugun
31st Fleet Air Wing
111 Kokutai
MCH-101
CH-101
111
91 Kokutai has radio call-sign Delphi.

The Japanese Navy acquired six Learjet 36s in the period 1988-1993 for target duties, two examples were lost in accidents since. The four remaining U-36As are part of the mixed fleet of 91 Kokutai, the other type being the UP-3D Orion.

Iwakuni, Marcel J. van Bielder

Iwoto (RJAW)

RWY 07/25     POS 24°47'02"N 141°19'22"E     ELEV 378 ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

21 Kokugun
21st Fleet Air Wing
21 Kokutai
Iwotou Koku Bunkentai UH-60J 21
Bunkentai = detachment

The Mitsubishi UH-60J replaced the S-61AH as the dedicated Search and Rescue helicopter with, initially, six Kyunan Hikotai (Air Base Squadrons)at the JMSDF main bases. However, following the March 2008 and April 2018 reorganisations, only four Hikotais remain. The JMSDF will not replace its UH-60J and future SAR ops will be the responsibility of the JASDF and JCG.

Kanoya, 11 April 2010, Menno Teunisse

Kanoya (RJFY)

RWY 08L/26R, 08R/26L     POS 31°22'05"N 130°50'17"E     ELEV 214 ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

1 Kokugun
1st Fleet Air Wing
1 Kokutai
11 Hikotai P-1
P-3C
1
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

1 Kokugun
1st Fleet Air Wing

12 Hikotai P-3C 1
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

22 Kokugun
22nd Fleet Air Wing
22 Kokutai
Kanoya Koku Bunkentai UH-60J 22
Kyoiku Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Training Command
Ozuki Kyoiku Kokugun
211 Kyoiku Kokutai TH-135
211
Kyoiku Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Training Command

212 Kyoiku Kokutai SH-60J (wfu?)
SH-60K
212
1 Kokutai has radio call-sign Jupiter.

The replacement for the OH-6D/DA is this Eurocopter EC-135 named TH-135 in Japanese service. As can be seen on the tail, it was still on strength of 51 Kokutai, the dedicated test squadron but operating from Kanoya in preparation for transfer. By October 2010, the first TH-135 was seen operating with 211 Kyoiku Kokutai markings and end 2015, all fifteen had been delivered.

Kanoya, 11 April 2010, Menno Teunisse

Komatsushima (RJOP)

RWY 17/35     POS 34°00'19"N 134°37'35"E     ELEV 85ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

22 Kokugun
22nd Fleet Air Wing
24 Kokutai
241 Hikotai SH-60J 24
Maizuru (RJBM)

RWY 12/30     POS 35°29'25"N 135°22'38"E     ELEV 19 ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

21 Kokugun
21st Fleet Air Wing
23 Kokutai
231 Hikotai SH-60K 23
23 Kokutai ended SH-60J operations in March 2015.

Seen departing Komaki at the end of the Open Day is this 23 Kokutai SH-60J, heading for home at Maizuru, a base rarely visited by spotters as it is a bit off the beaten track. 23 Kokutai is the third unit to transition to the SH-60K. SH-60J operations ended in March 2015. The SH-60J in this picture is in the 'new' overall grey colour scheme as opposed to the original 'old' white/grey colours.

Komaki, 10 October 2009, Michiel Vermeer

Nagoya (RJNA)

RWY 16/34     POS 35°15'18"N 136°55'28"E     ELEV 46 ft

Miscellaneous Wing Squadron Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Overhaul facilities
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Mitsubishi Komaki Overhaul on:
SH-60J/K
UH-60J
Naha (ROAH)

RWY 18/36     POS 26°11'45"N 127°38'45"E     ELEV 12 ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

5 Kokugun
5th Fleet Air Wing
5 Kokutai
51 Hikotai P-3C 5
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

5 Kokugun
5th Fleet Air Wing

52 Hikotai P-3C 5


The visitors terrace at Naha is a good spot to get most of the based 5 Kokutai Orions. The loss of their colourful tailmarkings make these aircraft a lot less atractive, some even say 'you've seen one you've seen them all' but this is not entirely true. The JMSDF operates the P-3C with at least two different modifications besides the standard version. As can be seen on this photo, the 5089 has a big bulge on the top of the fuselage. Another mod. has a smaller bulge on the same place and some remain, at least on the outside in the old configuration.

Naha January 2010, Reinier Schreurs

Ominato (RJSO)

RWY 04/22     POS 41°13'58"N 141°07'56"E     ELEV 24 ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

21 Kokugun
21st Fleet Air Wing
25 Kokutai
251 Hikotai SH-60K 25
On 2 April 2018 the Ominato Koku Bunkentai was disbanded.
Omura (RJDU)

RWY 18/36     POS 32°55'41"N 129°56'03"E     ELEV 19 ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

22 Kokugun
22nd Fleet Air Wing
22 Kokutai
221 Hikotai SH-60K
22
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

22 Kokugun
22nd Fleet Air Wing

222 Hikotai SH-60K 22
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

22 Kokugun
22nd Fleet Air Wing

223 Hikotai SH-60J 22
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

22 Kokugun
22nd Fleet Air Wing

224 Hikotai UH-60J 22
On 2 April 2018 sub-unit 72 Hikotai was disbanded and reformed as 224 Hikotai under 22 Kokutai.
22 Kokutai has another sub-unit, one bunkentai at Kanoya.

Ozuki (RJOZ)

RWY 12/30, 17/35     POS 34°02'49"N 131°03'08"E     ELEV 13ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Kyoiku Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Training Command
Ozuki Kyoiku Kokugun
201 Kyoiku Kokutai T-5 201
Sendai (RJSS)

RWY 09/27, 12/30     POS 38°08'23"N 140°55'01"E     ELEV 6 ft

Miscellaneous Wing Squadron Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Overhaul facilities
JAMCO
JAMCO Sendai Overhaul on:
TC-90
Shimofusa (RJTL)

RWY 01/19     POS 35°47'56"N 140°00'44"E     ELEV 98 ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Kyoiku Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Training Command
Shimofusa Kyoiku Kokugun
203 Kyoiku Kokutai P-3C 203

One of the last Orion units with some distinctive tail markings was the training squadron 203 Kokutai. Unfortunately it also lost the finflash during 2011.

Shimofusa, Marcel J. van Bielder

Tateyama (RJTE)

RWY 09/27     POS 34°59'15"N 139°49'55"E     ELEV 10 ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

21 Kokugun
21st Fleet Air Wing
21 Kokutai
211 Hikotai SH-60K
21
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

21 Kokugun
21st Fleet Air Wing

212 Hikotai SH-60J 21
Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Force

21 Kokugun
21st Fleet Air Wing

213 Hikotai UH-60J 21
On 2 April 2018 sub-unit 73 Hikotai was disbanded and reformed as 213 Hikotai under 21 Kokutai.
21 Kokutai has another sub-unit, a bunkentai at Iwoto.


The SH-60J was the successor of the HSS-2B in the ship borne ASW role. Currently the fleet of SH-60Js is partially replaced by the SH-60K. Five Kokutais are equipped with the Seahawk being the 21 Kokutai at Tateyama, 22 Kokutai at Omura, 23 Kokutai at Manazuru, 24 Kokutai at Komatsushima and 25 Kokutai at Ominato. This three-shipper was performing at the Tateyama open day of 2008 and are all in the old colour scheme.

Tateyama, 12 October 2008, Mori Masayoshi

The first operational unit to receive the SH-60K during 2006 was 121 Kokutai, now part of 21 Kokutai. This one is receiving the cold shower treatment to get rid of any salty deposits. The white herons in the trees in the background probably see this scene everyday.

Tateyama, 12 October 2008, Mori Masayoshi

Tokushima (RJOS)

RWY 11/29     POS 34°07'56"N 134°36'33"E     ELEV 37ft

Top Level Kokugun/Kokutai Kokutai/Hikotai Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Kyoiku Koku Shudan
Fleet Air Training Command
Tokushima Kyoiku Kokugun
202 Kyoiku Kokutai TC-90 202
Utsunomiya (RJTU)

RWY 01/19     POS 36°30'52"N 139°52'15"E     ELEV 334 ft

Miscellaneous Wing Squadron Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge
Overhaul facilities
Fuji Heavy Industries
Fuji Utsunomiya Overhaul on:
T-5

To maintain a presence in the Arctic regions, Japan regularly sends its Polar Icebreaker Shirase to those shores. AGB-5003 is the third ship with that name, commissioned last year and is able to carry two CH-101s. Its predecessor, the S-61A was retired in 2008 and was operating with 21 Kokutai at Tateyama when not aboard the Chirase, the CH-101 is flying from Iwakuni with 111 Kokutai.

Iwakuni, 12 September 2008, Mori Masayoshi

JMSDF Ships with helicopters assigned. (Ship)
Class/Type Ship Aircraft Type(s) Tail no. Badge

Izumo/Helicopter Carrier
DDH-183/JDS Izumo 14x SH-60J/K


DDH-184/JDS Kaga 14x SH-60J/K

Hyuga/Helicopter carrier
DDH-181/JDS Hyuga 11x SH-60J/K


DDH-182/JDS Ise 11x SH-60J/K

Osumi/Dock landing ship
LST-4001/JDS Osumi 1x SH-60J/K


LST-4002/JDS Shimokita 1x SH-60J/K


LST-4003/JDS Kunisaki 1x SH-60J/K

Shirase/Polar icebreaker
AGB-5003/JDS Shirase 2x CH-101

Atago/Aegis destroyer
DDG-177/JDS Atago 1x SH-60J/K


DDG-178/JDS Ashigara 1x SH-60J/K


DDG-179/JS Maya 1x SH-60J/K

Shirane/ASW destroyer
DDH-144/JDS Kurama 3x SH-60J/K

Akizuku/Destroyer
DD-115/JDS Akizuki 1x SH-60J/K


DD-116/JDS Teruzuki 1x SH-60J/K


DD-117/JDS Suzutsuki 1x SH-60J/K


DD-118/JDS Fuyuzuki 1x SH-60J/K

Takanami/Destroyer
DD-110/JDS Takanami 1x SH-60J/K


DD-111/JDS Onami 1x SH-60J/K


DD-112/JDS Makinami 1x SH-60J/K


DD-113/JDS Sazanami 1x SH-60J/K


DD-114/JDS Suzunami 1x SH-60J/K

Murasame/Large frigate
DD-101/JDS Murasame 1x SH-60J/K


DD-102/JDS Harusame 1x SH-60J/K


DD-103/JDS Yudashi 1x SH-60J/K


DD-104/JDS Kirisame 1x SH-60J/K


DD-105/JDS Inazuma 1x SH-60J/K


DD-106/JDS Samidare 1x SH-60J/K


DD-107/JDS Ikazuchi 1x SH-60J/K


DD-108/JDS Akebono 1x SH-60J/K


DD-109/JDS Ariake 1x SH-60J/K

Uraga/Mine countermeasures support ship
MST-463/JDS Uraga MCH-101


MST-464/JDS Bungo MCH-101

Asagiri/Frigate
DD-151/JDS Asagiri 1x SH-60J/K


DD-152/JDS Yamagiri 1x SH-60J/K


DD-153/JDS Yuugiri 1x SH-60J/K


DD-154/JDS Amagiri 1x SH-60J/K


DD-155/JDS Hamagiri 1x SH-60J/K


DD-156/JDS Setogiri 1x SH-60J/K


DD-157/JDS Sawagiri 1x SH-60J/K


DD-158/JDS Umigiri 1x SH-60J/K

Hatsuyuki/Frigate
TV-3517(ex DD-123)/JDS Shirayuki 1x SH-60J/K


DD-129/JDS Yamayuki 1x SH-60J/K


DD-130/JDS Matsuyuki 1x SH-60J/K


TV-3518(ex DD-131)/JDS Setoyuki 1x SH-60J/K


DD-132/JDS Asayuki 1x SH-60J/K


TV-3513(ex DD-133)/JDS Shimmayuki 1x SH-60J/K

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