The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) welcomed its first operational F-35A Lightning II during an arrival ceremony at Misawa Air Base on January 26, United States Pacific Command (PACOM) said.
“The F-35A will bring transformation in air defense power and significantly contribute to the peace for citizens and ensure security,” said JASDF 3rd Air Wing commander Major General Kenichi Samejima.
“All service members will do their best to secure flight safety and promptly establish an operational [squadron] structure step-by-step,” he added.
According to PACOM, a commemorative ceremony is scheduled on February 24 to celebrate the official initial deployment of a JASDF F-35A at Misawa Air Base.
“In the upcoming Japanese fiscal year, nine more aircraft will join this one to incept the first fifth-generation fighter squadron as part of the JASDF’s 3rd Air Wing,” PACOM said.
Japan plans to acquire 42 units of 42 F-35As as successors to its F-4s.
The first F-35A Lightning II of JASDF was turned over at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, USA on November 28 last year where pilots of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) clients for the F-35 are being trained.
Sources: http://www.pacom.mil/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1426750/first-operational-japan-air-self-defense-force-f-35a-makes-its-debut-at-misawa/; http://www.mod.go.jp/asdf/news/release/2018/0126/