|Japan Air Self-Defense Force|
|Founded||1 July 1954|
|Size||50,324 personnel (2013) |
|Part of||Japan Self-Defense Forces|
|Headquarters||Ichigaya, Shinjuku, Tokyo|
|Motto(s)||"Key to Defense, Ready Anytime!"|
|Commander-in-Chief||Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga|
|Minister of Defense||Nobuo Kishi|
|Chief of the Joint Staff||General K?ji Yamazaki|
|Chief of the Air Staff||General Shunji Izutsu|
|E-767, EC-1, E-2C/D, YS-11EA/EB|
|Fighter||F-15J/DJ, F-2A/B, F-35A/B|
|Helicopter||UH-60J, CH-47J (LR)|
|Trainer||T-3, T-7, T-400, T-4|
|Transport||C-1, C-2, C-130H, Hawker 800, Gulfstream IV, Boeing 777-300ER, YS-11|
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (, K?k? Jieitai), JASDF, also informally referred to as the Japanese Air Force, is the air warfare branch of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, responsible for the defense of Japanese airspace and for other aerospace operations. The JASDF carries out combat air patrols around Japan, while also maintaining a network of ground and air early-warning radar systems. The branch also has an aerobatic team known as Blue Impulse and has provided air transport in UN peacekeeping missions.
The JASDF had an estimated 50,000 personnel as of 2013, and as of 2020 operates about 740 aircraft, approximately 330 of them fighter aircraft.
As of 2020, the JASDF is under increasing pressure to intercept warplanes from China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) close to entering its air space. As of the last fiscal year ending in March 2020, the JASDF scrambled a record 947 times alone against PLAAF warplanes, putting heavy wear and tear on the F-15J. As of 2021, due to wear and tear on the JASDF F-15J the JASDF no longer intercepts the majority of PLAAF warplanes and has deployed its F-35 fighter jets to supplement the F-15J fighter jets for interception duty.
As early as 2023, the service's name will change to the Japan Air and Space Self-Defense Force in recognition of the increasing importance of the space domain.
Japan did not have a separate air force before and during World War II. Aviation operations were carried out by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service and the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (K?k?tai). Following defeat in World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy (including their respective Air Services) were disbanded in 1945.
Under the supervision of the United States occupation authorities, a pacifist Japanese government was appointed in place of the highly militaristic governments that had administered the Empire of Japan during the war. The new government drafted a postwar constitution. While the primary intent of this endeavor was to place the country's political structure on a firmly democratic footing, the constitution endorsed by the United States and ratified by the Diet of Japan in 1947 also contained Article 9 which strictly prohibited Japan from having a regular military.
The U.S. occupation formally ended in 1952, although large American garrison remained in Japan to defend the country. The victory of the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War and the onset of the Korean War led the Americans to reconsider what role the Japanese could be expected to play in, at the very least, defending their own home islands against growing Chinese, Soviet and North Korean power in the region. Under U.S. guidance, on 1 July 1954 the National Security Board was reorganized as the Defense Agency, and the National Security Force was reorganized afterwards as the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (de facto post-war Japanese Army), the Coastal Safety Force was reorganized as the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (de facto post-war Japanese Navy) and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (de facto post-war Japanese Air Force) was established as a new branch of JSDF. General Keiz? Hayashi was appointed as the first Chairman of Joint Staff Council--professional head of the three branches. The enabling legislation for this was the 1954 Self-Defense Forces Act (Act No. 165 of 1954).
The Far East Air Force, U.S. Air Force, announced on 6 January 1955, that 85 aircraft would be turned over to the fledgling Japanese air force on about 15 January, the first equipment of the new force.
The JASDF Air Defense Command Headquarters was relocated from Fuchu Air Base to Yokota Air Base on March 26, 2012. The relocation is due to the 2002 Defense Policy Review Initiative. The purpose is to strengthen the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance. The ADC Headquarters does command and control operations to defend Japanese airspace.
Until 2015, women were banned from becoming fighter jet and reconnaissance aircraft pilots. The first female pilot of an F-15 joined the ranks, along with three other female pilots currently in training, in 2018.
Since 2008, the number of scrambles to intercept Chinese aircraft has increased rapidly. In 2010 there were scrambles against 31 Chinese aircraft and 193 Russian aircraft. In 2018 scrambles increased to against 638 Chinese aircraft and 343 Russian aircraft. Chinese aircraft flight paths are mostly in the East China Sea, around the Ryukyu islands and through the Korea Strait. Russia frequently conducts flights orbiting Japan with military aircraft.
The Ministry of Defense reported in fiscal 2018 that there were 999 scrambles by JASDF jets against mainly Chinese and Russian unidentified aircraft. That is the second highest amount of scrambles by the JASDF since 1958. 638 (64%) were Chinese aircraft and 343 (34%) were Russian aircraft. On June 20, 2019, two Russian bombers (Tupolev Tu-95) violated Japanese airspace twice on the same day.
The Diet of Japan approved the modification of the ships of the Izumo-class to operate STOVL aircraft and in 2019 ordered 42 STOVL Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs. The US Marines will operate their own STOVL F-35s from the Izumo-class in cooperation with the ship's crew to build up a Japanese capability to operate this type. The current plan is for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force to operate the STOVL F-35B from land bases once delivered. According to an RT interview, the Japanese Ministry of Defense representative states that the STOVL aircraft are a land based Japan Air Self-Defense Force asset and the modification of maritime escort vessels is to "increase operational flexibility", stating "We are not creating carrier air wings or carrier air squadrons".
Major units of the JASDF are the Air Defense Command, Air Support Command, Air Training Command, Air Development and Test Command, and Air Materiel Command. The Air Support Command is responsible for direct support of operational forces in rescue, transportation, control, weather monitoring and inspection. The Air Training Command is responsible for basic flying and technical training. The Air Development and Test Command, in addition to overseeing equipment research and development, is also responsible for research and development in such areas as flight medicine. On May 19, 2020 the JASDF officially inaugurated its Space Operation Squadron.
The Air Defense Command has northern, central, and western regional headquarters located at Misawa, Iruma, and Kasuga, respectively and the Southwestern Composite Air Division based at Naha, Okinawa Prefecture. All four regional headquarters control surface-to-air missile units of both the JASDF and the JGSDF located in their respective areas.
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force flag was first adopted in 1955 after the JASDF was created in 1954. It is based on a cap badge made in 1954. The flag is cobalt blue with a gold winged eagle on top of a combined star, the moon, the Hinomaru sun disc and clouds. The latest version of the JASDF flag was re-adopted on 19 March 2001. The JASDF flag is different from the JSDF flag and the JGSDF flag. It is determined by a directive regarding the flags of the JSDF.
|English translation||General||Lieutenant general||Major general||Colonel||Lieutenant colonel||Major||Captain||First lieutenant||Second lieutenant|
|Insignia Type A
|Insignia Type B
|Insignia Miniature Type
|English translation||Warrant officer||Senior master sergeant||Master sergeant||Technical sergeant||Staff sergeant||Airman 1st class||Airman 2nd class||Airman 3rd class||Self defense official cadet|
|Insignia Type A
|Insignia Type B
|Insignia Miniature Type
The JASDF maintains an integrated network of radar installations and air defense direction centers throughout the country known as the Basic Air Defense Ground Environment. In the late 1980s, the system was modernized and augmented with E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft. The nation relies on fighter-interceptor aircraft and surface-to-air missiles to intercept hostile aircraft. Both of these systems were improved from the beginning of the late 1980s. Outmoded aircraft were replaced in the early 1990s with more sophisticated models, and Nike-J missiles have been replaced with the modern Patriot PAC-2 and PAC-3 system. The JASDF also provides air support for ground and sea operations of the JGSDF and the JMSDF and air defense for bases of all the forces. Base defenses were upgraded in the late 1980s with new surface-to-air missiles, modern antiaircraft artillery and new fixed and mobile aircraft shelters.
|F-15 Eagle||United States||air superiority||F-15J||155||licensed produced by Mitsubishi|
|Mitsubishi F-2||Japan||multirole||62||based on the Lockheed Martin F-16|
|F-35 Lightning II||United States||multirole||F-35A||17||129 on order|
|Boeing E-767||United States||early warning and control||4|
|E-2 Hawkeye||United States||AEW||E-2C/D||17||9 on order|
|Kawasaki C-1||Japan||electronic warfare||1|
|NAMC YS-11||Japan||electronic warfare||4|
|Boeing KC-767||United States||aerial refueling / transport||4|
|KC-46 Pegasus||United States||aerial refueling / transport||4 on order|
|Lockheed KC-130||United States||aerial refueling||KC-130H||2|
|Boeing 777||United States||VIP||777-300ER||2||call sign Japanese Air Force One|
|Hawker 800||United Kingdom||SAR / transport||U-125A||27|
|Kawasaki C-2||Japan||heavy transport||9||11 on order|
|C-130 Hercules||United States||transport||C-130H||14|
|NAMC YS-11||Japan||transport / flight inspection||2|
|Gulfstream IV||United States||transport / flight inspection||5|
|British Aerospace 125||United Kingdom||transport / flight inspection||2|
|Cessna Citation Latitude||United States||transport / flight inspection||2||1 on order|
|CH-47 Chinook||United States||transport / utility||CH-47J||17||licensed built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries|
|Sikorsky UH-60||United States||utility / SAR||UH-60J||50||25 on order - licensed built by Mitsubishi|
|Fuji T-3||Japan||light trainer||49|
|F-15 Eagle||United States||conversion trainer||F-15DJ||45||licensed produced by Mitsubishi|
|Hawker 400||United States||jet trainer||T-1 Jayhawk||13|
|Mitsubishi F-2||Japan||conversion trainer||F-2B||26|
|Kawasaki T-4||Japan||jet trainer||200|