GENERAL YOSHIYUKI SUGIYAMA Chief of Staff of the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force Preparing for the F-35A
feel most grateful for being offered such an honourable opportunity to write for this year’s Air Power, a splendid publication of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The governments of the United Kingdom and Japan have agreed to deepen our defence cooperation. Not least, the RAF No 3 Squadron (Typhoon) and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) 201st Fighter Squadron (F-15J) regularly interact with each other, declaring themselves sister squadrons. Following the visit of the RAF’s brandnew A400M Atlas aircraft to Japan last year, RAF Typhoons will fly to Japan to train with us this year. This will be a significant first, not only for the RAF and JASDF, but also for our two countries. We are earnestly making all necessary arrangements to realise this training. In addition, the UK and Japan have been collaboratively studying the feasibility of a new jointly developed Japanese-UK airto-air missile, the progress of which keeps drawing my attention. Continued progress of Japanese-UK defence cooperation and exchanges at every opportunity at various levels is very much expected. While the RAF acquires F-35Bs, the JASDF intends to acquire 42 F-35As as the replacement for the F-4. I personally have mixed feelings, because I am an F-4 pilot. However, it is exciting that we will
The Japanese Air Self-Defence Force intends to acquire 42 F-35A Lightning II aircraft
be able to see our first F-35A rolling out this year in Fort Worth. Concurrently in Japan, F-35As are being built in a domestic Final-Assembly-and-Check-Out facility as well. Our pilots and maintenance crews are being educated and trained in the United States to become the core members of the new F-35A squadron. We have been making every effort in getting our first F-35A deployed to Japan, which is to see the light of day in the fiscal year of 2017. Currently, the construction of training facilities for pilots and maintenance crew is proceeding at the home of Japan’s F-35As, Misawa Air Base. Furthermore, a regional depot for airframes and engines in the Asia-Pacific region will be established in
Japan. I firmly believe that the excellent stealth and network capabilities of the F-35A, together with other JASDF assets, will remarkably contribute not only to our homeland defence but also to the stability of the region. As is the case with the RAF, the F-35 is the first fifthgeneration aircraft that the JASDF will introduce. I believe that it is necessary for F-35 users to deepen exchanges in order to improve our mutual capabilities. In conclusion, I wish to have as many occasions as possible to exchange views on diverse topics with the RAF’s Chief of the Air Staff and my other counterparts attending the Air Power Conference and the Royal International Air Tattoo this year.
INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION AIR POWER 2016
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An official publication of the Royal Air Force