Back in April 2019, 2 members from Low Approach made a trip to Japan. Ludo already visited Japan a couple of times, but for Tim it was the first time to go to the land of the rising sun. During the 2,5 week trip they visited a couple of airfields.
On the first 2 days they visited Iruma Air Base and NAF Atsugi.
Iruma Air Base is the homebase for the Air Defense Command Headquarters Flight Group. Therefore Iruma is the homebase for a diversity of aircraft and squadrons.
A small summary of what is based here:
- Flight Check Squadron using the YS-11FC and its successor the U-125A;
- An Electronic Warfare Squadron using the YS-11EA and EC-1 (and in the near future, the EC-2);
- The 402nd Tactical Airlift Squadron using the C-1 and U-4;
- An Air Rescue Squadron using the CH-47J
- An Electronic Intelligence (Elint) Squadron using the YS-11EB
- An Head Quarter Squadron using the T-4.
During our trip in Japan all the T-4’s were unfortunately grounded due to engine problems so none were seen flying.
At Iruma there where however quite a lot on the flightline but they couldn’t be photographed in a decent way.
Below is a summary of what we did see and could photograph during our 1,5 day visit at Iruma:
As the first day visit at Iruma resulted in a non-flying day, with the exception of 3 departing aircraft early in the morning, we decided to head to NAF Atsugi around noon in the hope to catch some movements there.
NAF Atsugi is a JMSDF (Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force) airfield since 2018. Before 2018 also the US Marine Corps had squadrons located at Atsugi but have moved to MCAS Iwakuni since.
Current aircraft based at Atsugi are the P-1’s, various versions of the P-3, C-130H’s and several variants of the H-60 helicopter family. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t co-operative during our visit as it was cold and very cloudy. But on the other hand this also came as an advantage as we could photograph the parked aircraft and aircraft that just landed pretty well as can be seen in the following photoreport:
Text: Tim Van den Boer
Pictures: Tim Van den Boer, Ludo Kloek