Text & Pictures : Philippe Decock
sbap 2019
 
 
Hyakuri Air Base is located about 85km north of the capital of Japan, Tokyo, near the city of Omitawa, in the Ibaraki prefecture. It is the closest fighter base to Tokyo.

The military airfield was established by the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1937.

The base is home to the last JASDF Phantoms with three squadrons still operating the type,
- 301 squadron is tasked with air defence and has an additionnal F-4 operational conversion role.
The squadron is scheduled to transition to the F-35A in 2020, becoming the second operational Lighning II unit.
- 302 squadron is a pure air defence unit and will relocate to Misawa in 2019 to become the first F-35A operational unit.
- 501 squadron is tasked with tactical reconnaissance using a mix of RF-4E's and surplus F-4EJ's modified to carry a variety of reconnaissance pods. It has just been announced, in january 2019, that the squadron will transition to the F-35 in the not too distant future.

All three squadrons, as all fighter squadrons in the JASDF, use a few Kawasaki T-4's as trainer/liaison aircraft.

The base shares the two 2700 meters long runways 03L/21R and 03R/21L with the civilian Ibaraki Airport.
Civilian air traffic started in march 2010 and flights are operated by japanese regional carrier Skymark to several japanese cities, Tigerair to Taiwan, Spring Airlines to Shanghai, Eastar Jet to South-Korea.

Hyakuri is well known for its " Peace Park " spotting location.
As the owner of that place does not want to sell its ground, the taxiway has to go around it.
There are two old wood towers and a new metallic tower at the photographer disposal.
Those towers are about 50 meters from the center of the taxiway, needless to say it is a pure aviation fan paradize !!!
Having the opportunity to witness aircraft this close, especially when those aircraft are F-4's, is an experience you have to live at lease once in your life!
Special thanks to Leroy Simpson for organizing this outstanding trip.

 
 
  
Day 1
 
 301 squadron flight line
Nagoya based 401 Hikotai Lockheed C-130H Hercules Raytheon U-125A from the Air Rescue Wing (Koku Kyunandan)
A pair of 302 Squadron Kawasaki T-4s
 The 793 also from 302 Kokutai His majesty the Phantom!
301 squadron F-4EJ kai
No pass near the tower "Maverick"!  A 60s design still beautiful
Break  Pull up!
301 squadron F-4EJ kai retracting its landing gear
301 squadron F-4EJ kai upon landing
302 squadron T-4 taking off Unmarked T-4 upon landing
RF-4E kai taxiing out RF-4EJ kai
RF-4E kai taking off shortly before sunset
301 squadron T-4 upon landing 501 squadron T-4 taking off at Sunset
 501 squadron flight line at Sunset
302 squadron F-4EJ kai taking off for a night sortie 302 squadron T-4
 
Day 2
 
 UH-60J about to  buzz  the Peace Park wooden towers
 Amazing face to face Unusual blue black hawk...
Embrear 170 Fuji Dream Airlines Boeing B737-81D Skymark Airlines
Face to face with a 501 Hikotai warrior
 302 Squadron F-4EJ kai in QRA fit being towed to the alert shed Another 302 squadron F-4EJ kai being towed from the QRA area to the apron
302 squadron T-4 taking off Air Rescue Wing U-125A
301 squadron F-4EJ kai and his heat cloud
 Close up on the 439 Mount Tsukuba frog in action
More and more training  Taxi back to the apron
301 squadron F-4EJ kai upon landing still using drag chute
En route for the 301 flight line  RF-4E kai
RF-4EJ kai note the ALQ-131 jaming pod RF-4E kai
 914 taxiing back to the flight line A sihouette really close to that of Alpha Jet
 302 squadron F-4EJ kai being towed from the QRA area to the apron
UH-60J Speed brakes open
A T-4 for 2  The 739 waiting the next mission
U-125 on a training flight at Sunset UH-60J on a training flight with the U-125 
 
Day 3
 
RF-4E kai taxiing out
302 squadron Kawasaki T-4 302 squadron F-4EJ kai
 A pair of 501 squadron RF-4E taking off built under licence in Japan, by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
369 nose close up  A pair of 302 squadron F-4EJ kai on take off
Ojirowashi on taxi for the next air defense mission Woody taxi
A beautiful blue scheme RF-4E kai taking off for a Recce mission
 A pair of 302 squadron T-4s taxiing out The crew of a 302 squadron T-4
Spring Airlines Airbus A320-214 from Shanghai Little bit rubber on the runway
 A trio of 301 squadron F-4EJ kai taxiing in Ghost and heat
 A 302 squadron T-4 at the break The 630 on landing
 U-125A, note the 60 years logo on the door (1958 - 2018) Air Defense pair
Dream line... soon a simple souvenir
A 501 squadron RF-4EJ kai at the break, note the TAC pod in center line Modern times Samurai
A 302 squadron F-4EJ kai upon landing just before Sunset
 Tigerair Airbus A320-232 from Taipei Eastar Jet Boeing B737-86N from Seoul/Incheon
 
Day 4 (Airshow arrivals and rehersal)
 
Mitsubishi F-15J from Komatsu based 303 Hikotai on final for runway 03R
A second 303 Hikotai F-15J A 301 Hikotai T-4 going around
F-15J taking off for its rehearsal In full afterburner
On final to land Mitsubishi F-2A from Misawa based 3 Hikotai
 Fuji T-7 from Shizuhama based 11 Flying Training Wing Close up on a Fuji-Bell UH-1J
Fuji-Bell UH-1J Huey (JGSDF - Japan Ground Self Defense Force) from Utsunomiya airbase on final
A pair of 301 squadron F-4EJ kai break at the end of the runway
302 squadron Kawasaki T-4 At the break
Embraer ERJ-175STD Fuji Dream Airlines Paradrop demo by a home based UH-60J
 The highlight of the day : a flypast by six F-4's, two from each squadron





The six aircraft that took part in the flypast
302 squadron " white special " 302 squadron " black special "
301 squadron F-4EJ kai 501 squadron RF-4E in " standard " color scheme
RF-4E in " Sea Camouflage " In a tight left turn
301 squadron F-4EJ kai in a right turn F-15J during its rehearsal
 
Day 5 (Hyakuri Airshow)
 
  

On december 1st and 2nd 2018, an airshow was held on Hyakuri air base. Hyakuri airbase home to the last JASDF Mc Donnell-Douglas RF-4E/F-4EJ kai Phantom II with three squadron still operating the type : 301 and 302 Hikotai flying the F-4EJ kai in the fighter role and 501 Hikotai flying the RF-4E and modified F-4EJ kai in the reconnaissance role. 302 Hikotai is in the process of transitioning to the Lockheed-Martin F-35A Lightning II and 301 Hikotai is supposed to transition to the F-35A in 2020.
The open door on saturday december 1st was for invited people, the general public being only allowed on sunday december 2nd.

The static display was not that impressive with a Shizuhama based 11 Hiko Kyoikudan Fuji T-7, an Atsugi based 3 Kokutai Kawasaki P-1, a Misawa based 3 Hikotai Misubishi F-2A, an Iruma based Gulfstream U-4, an Utsunomiya based UH-1J, two Komatsu based 303 Hikotai F-15J, a home based 301 Hikotai Kawasaki T-4, a home based Mitsubishi UH-60J Blackhawk, a home based British Aerospace U-125 and, of course, a selection of home based RF-4E's and F-4EJ kai's with no less than 16 F-4's from all three squadrons. 

The highlight of the event was the presence of two specially painted F-4's, a " black " one (77-8399) and a " white " one (07-8428) commemorating the final year of the F-4 in 302 Hikotai service.
The saturday event was blessed with beautiful weather but the sunday event was not as nice as the day was mostly cloudy...
The day started with the flight of a pair of home based T-4's followed by a mass take off of six F-4's, two from each squadron, followed by a formation pass by the six aircraft and a small demonstration by both RF-4E's.
After that, home based U-125 and UH-60J performed a SAR demonstration.
This was followed by both " specials " that took off for a formation fly by and several individual passes.
It was then the F-15J turn to entertain the crowd.
After the lunch break, two 301 Hikotai F-4's took off for a pair display.
The last display was made by two 501 Hikotai RF-4E's, a " blue " one and a " standard " one.
At the end of the show, all visiting aircraft departed Hyakuri, except the T-7.
It was my first japanese airshow experience ever and, despite the " light " static display, I was more than happy as it was a unique opportunity for me to see so many JASDF Phantoms performing dynamic displays in their environment.

 
 
A part of the static display
Fuji T-7 Kawasaki T-4 in the colors of locally based 301 squadron

Face to face with the beautiful Mitsubishi F-2A Close up on the nose of the F-2A - F-2A from Misawa based 3 Hikotai
501 hikotai RF-4EJ kai with a reconnaissance pod LOROP Close up on the nose of RF-4EJ kai 47-6335
PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability-3) surface-to-air missile system Fuji-Bell UH-1J
Face to face with the Kawasaki P-1 (JMSDF - Japan Maritime Self Defense Force)
Atsugi based 3 Kokutai Kawasaki P-1 Iruma based Gulfstream Aerospace U-4
Locally based U-125 from the Air Rescue Wing UH-60J from the same unit
F-15J from Komatsu based 303 Hikotai Japanese sense of humour
 The highlight of the event was the presence of two specially painted F-4's...
the " white " one (07-8428) and the black one (77-8399) commemorating the final year of the F-4 in 302 Hikotai service
The  white special ... ...and the  black special 
The white Ojirowashi is watching you...  ...the black one also!
 White and black side by side
Take off for the six ship formation flight: the 501 Hikotai pair...
 ...and the 301 Hikotai pair
Sadly enough, the weather on Sunday was overcast
The eagle has landed 
The special paint duo  An unique opportunity to see both together
 The " white special " has landed Followed by the  black special 
 
 428 releasing its drag chute
 399 trailing its chute
 The  white special  is taxiing in Followed by the  black special 
F-15J pulling up In a turn with afterburner
Vortex effects 
End of the display Back to the parking
 301 Hikotai pair display Pull up!
45 years of service and still full of power  Simply elegancy
All out pass  301 Hikotai display is over
Just beautiful...isnt'it?
The 501 Hikotai line waiting for the display 
 Woody and his starter truck Phantom Drivers
Waiting for action  Ground crew in stand by
Like everywere, the Air Force...a family Pre-flight inspection
Equipement check  Crew Chief help

 Boarding the Phantom Start up and taxi
En route for the holding point  Take off
The splendid " Sea camouflage "
Climbing  Full afterburner

Both 501 squadron RF-4E's have landed
 Sea camouflage Standard camouflage
It's clearly the final years for the Nippon Phantom...Sad! 
 In a light suit...
 
Back to base...
 
 Heading for Komatsu... ...Utsunomiya...
 ...Iruma.. ...Atsugi...
  ...and Misawa
 
Some oldies...
 
 In memory...
 North American F-86D Sabre 204 Hikotai North American F-86F Sabre 305 Hikotai
 Lockheed F-104J Starfighter 305 Hikotai  Lockheed T-33A Shooing Star 501 Hikotai
Mc Donnell Douglas RF-4E Mc Donnell Douglas F-4EJ 302 Hikotai 40 years F-4 in service
 Mitsubishi F-1  6 Hikotai Mitsubishi T-2 Blue Impulse
 

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