Text & Pictures: Philippe Decock ęsbap 2021
 
 
  

Tsuiki Air Base is a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) airfield located near the city of Yukuhashi (about 60 kilometers east of the city of Fukuoka, about 800 kilometers west of Tokyo), on the island of Kyushu, the southernmost island of the japanese archipelago.

 
   
History :

Tsuiki air base was built by the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1942.
On 18 March 1945, a Kamikaze mission consisting of five Yokosuka P1Y1 Ginga bombers departed from this base to attack U.S. Navy ships off Kyushu.
The base was bombed by USAAF Consolidated B-24 Liberator and Douglas A-26 Invader bombers on 7 August 1945, largely destroying the base and making it inoperable.
The base was not rebuilt in the immediate postwar era, the airfield was pressed into use during the early days of the Korean War when the USAF 8th Fighter Group moved North American F-51 Mustangs to Tsuiki in August 1950 for operations over the South Korean Pusan perimeter.
When airfields became available in South Korea, the unit moved to Suwon Air Base (also kown as K13) to conduct groud support operations.
In addition, the 35th Fighter Group, one of the first USAF unit deployed to South Korea, pulled out of the line for F-51 replacement aircraft and personnel at Tsuiki in mid-August.
After its reactivation, Tsuiki Air Base became a second-line USAF facility for the remainder of the Korean War, hosting several weather squadrons, with the 6169th Air Base Squadron being the main host support unit, and supervising construction of new runways and support buildings. After the war in Korea ended in 1953, it remained a reserve base until being returned to Japanese control in June 1957.
In the meantime, from January 1955, JASDF Lockheed T-33A's Shooting Star started to operate from Tsuiki.
A first fighter squadron, 10 Hikotai, arrived in Tsuiki in February 1964 followed by 6 Hikotai in October of the same year, both units being equipped with North American F-86F Sabre .
In February 1966, the 7th SAM Squadron was established with Nike Hercules missiles.
Those missiles were replaced in June 1972 by a japanese version called Nike J built under license by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
10 Hikotai was disbanded in April 1977 and was replaced by the newly created 304 Hikotai equipped with the licensed-built 
Mitsubishi F-4EJ Phantom II.
In 1981, 6 Hikotai retired the Sabre and became the third Mitsubishi F-1 unit.
In January 1990, 304 Hikotai exchanged its Phantoms for brand new licensed-built Mitsubishi F-15J/DJ Eagles.
March 1994 saw the replacement of the Nike J by the new Raytheon Patriot missile system.
In March 2006, 6 Hikotai replaced the Mitsubishi F-1 with the Mitsubishi F-2A/B.
In December 2009, the first version of the Patriot missiles are replaced by the improved PAC-3 version.
In January 2016, 304 Hikotai moved to Naha, Okinawa, and was replaced by 8 Hikotai, previously based in Misawa, equipped with the Misubishi F-2A/B.

   
Tsuiki Air Base today :

8 Kokudan :

- 6 Hikotai : Mitsubishi F-2A/B
- 8 Hikotai : Mitsubishi F-2A/B

 
General view of the 6Hikotai flightline
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi F-2A 93-8549 (c/n 1049) from 8 Hikotai
(Philippe Decockę)
Building and hangar
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi F-2A 13-8520 (c/n 1020) from 8 Hikotai "Black Panther"
(Philippe Decockę)
Landing and back to the 8 Hikotai apron
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi F-2A 13-8516 (c/n 1016) from 8 Hikotai
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi F-2A 93-8554 (c/n 1054) from 8 Hikotai Landing and drag chute deployment
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi F-2A 73-8542 (c/n 1042) from 6 Hikotai
(Philippe Decockę)
Drag chute fully deployed, it's a big one!
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi F-2A 93-8551 (c/n 1051) from 6 Hikotai
(Philippe Decockę)
Intense activities despite the bad weather of the day
(Philippe Decockę)
The 542 departing for another mission
(Philippe Decockę)
Followed by the 561
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi F-2A 73-8543 (c/n 1043) from 6 Hikotai
(Philippe Decockę)
Last chance area
(Philippe Decockę)
Face to face with the rising sun fighter
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi F-2A 03-8509 (c/n 1009) from 6 Hikotai
(Philippe Decockę)
Aligned at holding point
(Philippe Decockę)
Full AB take off
(Philippe Decockę)
Beautiful aircraft and amazing colour scheme
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi F-2A 73-8542 (c/n 1042) from 6 Hikotai
(Philippe Decockę)
Power and jet wash
(Philippe Decockę)
Mission in the Japanese grey sky
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi F-2A 73-8543 (c/n 1043) from 6 Hikotai  Characteristic sucking and full AB take off
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi F-2A 13-8561 (c/n 1061) from 6 Hikotai
(Philippe Decockę)
Mission launched!
(Philippe Decockę)
Some visitors: 
Boeing CH-47J  67-4495 (c/n 5079) Koku Kyunandan (Air Rescue Wing)
(Philippe Decockę)
Mitsubishi T-7 26-5902 (c/n 2) 
from 12 Hiko Kyoikudan (12 Flying Training Wing)
(Philippe Decockę)
Mission accomplished and back to base for the 509
(Philippe Decockę)
Followed by the 542
(Philippe Decockę)
The 543 also back home
(Philippe Decockę)
And the last one the 561
(Philippe Decockę)
A total of 98 Mitsubishi F-2 aircraft were produced (including four prototypes) for the JASDF and the general design is based on the F-16 Agile Falcon
The F-2 is nicknamed "Viper Zero" ("Viper" for the F-16 origin and "Zero" for the most famous World War II Japanese fighter)
This fighter is declined in two variant: Mitsubishi F-2A single seat : 61 produced - Mitsubishi F-2B Twin seat : 33 produced
(Philippe Decockę)
 

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