Text & Pictures : Philippe Decock
sbap 2019
 
Iruma Air Base is situated in western Tokyo, in Sayama, in the Saitama prefecture.
The base uses a single 17/35 2000 meters runway.

The base was established in 1937 by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. The airfield opened in december 1938 as Irumagawa Airfield operating Kawasaki Ki-10 biplanes.
During the war, Mitsubishi Ki-67 medium bombers operated from Iruma.
In the closing weeks of WWII, the last missions flown from the base were one-way missions using Yokosuka Ohka rocket-powered human-guided anti-shipping kamikaze attack planes.
After the war, the USAAF used the base as from september 25th 1945.
The base was renamed Johnson Air Base in honor of LtCol Gerald Johnson who lost his live while trying to land his B-25 Mitchell in Irumagawa in extremely bad weather.
Iruma was used operationally from 1947 to 1960 by a variety of USAF aircraft like P-51 Mustang, P-61 Black Widow, F-80 Shooting Star, F-82 Twin Mustang, F-86 Sabre, B-26 Invader and B-57 Canberra.
In august 1958, the JASDF Central Air Defense HQ was established in Iruma.
In 1960, all USAF flying units had left Iruma and the base was slowly transfered to the JASDF.
The last american facilities closed in 1978 and the base was completely returned to Japan.

Nowadays, Iruma Air Base hosts the following units :

402 Hikotai : Gulfstream U-4 / Mitsubishi C-1

Hiko Tenkentai (Flight Check Squadron) : British Aerospace U-125 / NAMC YS-11FC

Shireibu Hikotai (HQ Squadron) : Kawasaki T-4

Denshi Hiko Sokuteitai (Elint Squadron) : NAMC YS-11EB

Denshisen Shientai (Electronic Warfare Squadron) : NAMC YS-11EA / Kawasaki EC-1

Iruma Helikoputa Kuyutai (Helicopter Squadron) : Kawasaki CH-47J

During our short stay in Iruma, on november 26th and 27th 2018, the aircraft that will replace the Kawasaki EC-1, the Kawasaki EC-2, performed several sorties on both days and made a few touch and goes.
We were lucky enough to witness almost all types of aircraft based in Iruma, the only one we did not see was the Chinook...

Special thanks to Leroy Simpson for organizing this outstanding trip.

 
2 Yuso Kokutai: 402 Hikotai (Koku Shien Shudan) - Chubu Koku Homentai: Shireibu Hikotai (Koku Sotai) - Tokubetsu Koku Yusodai: Hiko Tenkentai (Koku Shien Shudan)
 
Day 1
 
 HQ squadron Kawasaki T-4  Another T-4 from HQ squadron (Shireibu Hikotai)
 A Miho based 403 Hikotai Kawasaki C-2 Heavy lift Iruma vistor
 HQ squadron T-4 Kawasaki T-4 with low visibilty markings
Gulfstream U-4 Close up on the nose of a HQ squadron T-4
 U-4 performing some low approaches and touch and goes Kawasaki T-4 the local Alpha Jet...
 Flight Check squadron Raytheon U-125 (British Aerospace Bae 125)
Friendly aircrew waving to the Koku Fan A low pass by the U-125 number 42
  HQ squadron heavily loaded with three external tanks Japanese elegancy
 A U-4 departs as a T-4 approaches the holding point T-4 at the holding point of runway 35
 Iruma based Japanese Police Eurocopter EC135 helicopter Kawasaki EC-2
 The Kawasaki EC-2 ELINT is still on test at Gifu airbase (Kawasaki Heavy Industries)
 A pair of 402 squadron Kawasaki C-1 taxiing out A C-1 departing from runway 35
 Kabuki 60 anniversary C-1 taking off Gulfstream Aerospace U-4
 Close up on a Kawasaki C-1 Tactical camouflage 3 tones
Some more  HQ squadron Kawasaki T-4 Training holds a prominent place in the Japanese self-defense system
 Saitama prefecture Fire & Disaster Management Agency Agusta-Westland AW139 Japanese Police EC135
 Kawasaki C-1 A C-1 joins the downwind with a C-2 in the distance
 HQ squadron Kawasaki T-4 wearing some more shimmering colours
 In November 1981, Kawasaki was selected as main contractor to design and produce an aircraft relating to the MT-X program The first production T-4 flew on 28 June 1988
and 208 aircraft were delivered to the JASDF
 A 402 squadron C-1 upon landing A always efficient transport aircraft designed in 1966
 Close up on the Kabuki " special " The Kawasaki C-1 has been in use since 1974 and 31 aircraft were delivered
A Miho based 403 Hikotai Kawasaki C-2 The 1st production model C-2 aircraft was delivered to Air Development and Test Wing at Gifu airbase on June 30th, 2016
 Japanese art in all its splendor...the "Kabuki Special" Flight Check squadron (Hiko Tenkentai) Raytheon U-125
 Dusk and night flights: NAMC YS-11EB from Electronic Intelligence Squadron (Denshi Hiko Sokuteitai)
 Gulfstream U-4 taking off Kawasaki C-1 full spoilers out
 Kawasaki EC-2 at night Night test flight landing
 
Day 2
 
 Close up on the one and only Kawasaki EC-1 from the Electric Warfare Operation Group (Denshi Sakusengun)
 NAMC YS-11EB taxiing out to runway 35
Nose close up on this particular aircraft Vortex festival
HQ squadron Kawasaki T-4's on duty Close up on the 756
 Low viz 706 The 719 en route to the holding point
The first production aircraft was delivered in 1988, 30 years ago Danger...Air intake!
Close up on a Kawasaki C-1 C-1 taxiing out
 A Kawasaki piloted by Suzuki ! The EC-1 taxiing out
 EC-1 taking off from runway 35: not elegant but really intriguing aircraft
 YS-11EB performing several low approaches... ...and go around
 EC-1 going around The "25" on final for runway 35
 Flight Check squadron Raytheon U-125 Go around for thr "041"
Four YS-11EB were delivered to the JASDF for ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) puposes
 The EC-1, as the YS-11EB, was on a training flight Full flaps
 Close up on the Kabuki C-1 Kabuki: traditional japanese theater
 One more touch and go "014" back to base
 A visitor: Kawasaki T-4 from Chitose airbase 201 Hikotai  Northern Air Defence Force (Hokubu Koku Homentai)
 ELINT equipment are Toshiba and XJ/ALQ-5 ECM suite
from Mitsubishi Electric 
Kawasaki modified the 21st C-1 airframe to this standard, 
to meet a 1983 Defence Agency contract
A last view on the beautiful and amazing "Kabuki" special paint scheme before leaving Iruma airbase
 

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