report by: Thierry Letellier
Nyutabaru, on the southern Japanese island of Kyhusu, is a real superbase.With one squadron of Phantoms and 2 of F-15 Eagles, among the the colourfull Aggressor aircraft, the flying activity is very high with jets being in the air non-stop during the day. The perspective of their annual Airshow led me to join the Kyhusu region at this time of the year.
The Hiko Kyodogun (Aggressor Group) depending from Koku Senjyutsu Kyododan (Tactical Air Training Command) is the Japan Air Self Defence Force’s dedicated aggressor squadron and operates some of the best looking F-15s in the world. Based at Nyutabaru AB, the unit provides air combat training for most of the JASDF’s combat units. Representing something of an elite unit, the Hiko Kyodotai predominately operates the two-seat Mitsubishi F-15DJ Eagle, although some single seat F-15Js are also on strength. In common with most Japanese units, it also uses a small number of Kawasaki T-4 trainers for continuation training and liaison duties. Most of the F-15s are painted in very colourful camouflage schemes, with each aircraft seemingly carrying unique colours. In contrast to US aggressor units, which tend to carry colour schemes loosely based on the camouflage of potentially hostile nations, the Hiko Kyodotai schemes seem to be purely designed to look cool!
The 23 Hikotai depending from Hiko Kyoiku Kokutai (Air Training Group ) is the second F-15DJ/J squadron based in Nyutabaru AB . The large number of DJ version in use in this squadron confirm its training rules.The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) is the biggest foreign user of the F-15, and Japan is the only license-builder of the type. In Japan, it was introduced into the Air Self-Defense Force, and manufactured and licensed as the F-15J, with MHI as the primary contractor. Beginning in 1981, there have been a total of 223 units, including the F-15DJs, manufactured and delivered to the Air Self-Defense Force. The Mitsubishi F-15J/DJ Eagle is the principal air superiority fighter operated by the JASDF. The F-15J is identical to the F-15C aside from some avionics changes. These differ from the F-15C/D with the deletion of sensitive ECM, radar warning, and nuclear delivery equipment. The AN/ALQ-135 is replaced by indigenous J/ALQ-8 and the AN/ALR-56 RHAWS is replaced by J/APR-4.
The Seibu Koku Homentai (301 Hikotai ) is equipped with F-4EJ Kai and T-4 is until a very next future based in Nyutabaru AB ( Some percistant rumours recorded during my stay, said that this squadron is expected to move to Hyakuri AB [ Ibaraki Airport]) . The Japan Air Self-Defense Force received 154 Japanese F-4EJ Phantoms including the final Phantom built worldwide. All Japanese F-4EJs are optimized for the air defense role and used to equip six interceptor squadrons. In total 96 F-4EJs have been upgraded to the F-4EJ “Kai” (new) standard and will serve the JASDF well into the next millenium. Fourteen unarmed reconnaissance versions of the F-4EJ were built by McDonnell and delivered to the JASDF between November 1974 and June 1975.
Due to the very bad weather during the airshow date i decided to take a little more time in the vincinity. The main goal was to get some more traffic with a decent weather. The reported rumours took also part of my decision to extend my stay in the region.