Zenfolio | Jet Thrust Aviation Images | Phantom Heaven - Hyakuri Air Base (June 2013)
20 photos

Located some 85 km north-east of the Tokyo Metropolis in the city of Omitama, Ibaraki Prefecture, the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF)'s Hyakuri Air Base provides air protection for the nation's capital. The base is home to 7 Kokudan (7th Air Wing), with 2 operational hikotai (squadron/s): 302 Hikotai and 305 Hikotai flying the F-4EJ Kai and F-15J/DJ respectively. Other JASDF hikotai in residence at Hyakuri include the 501 Hikotai with its recce RF-4E/EJ Kai, and the Hyakuri Kyunantai (Air Rescue Squadron) providing search and rescue services with its UH-60J and U-125A.

With 2 of the 3 remaining hikotai operating the venerable F-4 Phantom IIs based at Hyakuri, the air base is somewhat considered a 'Mecca' for Phantom operations and is popular with aviation enthusiasts hoping to catch a sight of the Japanese Phantoms before their eventual retirement.
Hyakuri Air Base is home to a variety of aircraft - F-15J/DJ Eagles, RF/F-4E/EJ Kai Phantom IIs, Kawasaki T-4s, UH-60J Black Hawks and U-125As.Two of the three remaining hikotai operating the venerable F-4 Phantom IIs are based in Hyakuri. Here, a 302 Hikotai F-4EJ departs on a morning sortie.The service career of JASDF's F-4 Phantom IIs is now in its twilight, with a decision made in 2011 to procure 42 F-35A Lighning IIs as replacements.A 302 Hikotai F-4EJ deploys its drag chute to aid braking on Hyakuri's Runway 03R.A Kawasaki T-4 trainer from 302 Hikotai taxies out with friendly aircrew at the controls. Most hikotai operate a number of T-4s for various roles including proficiency trainers, air combat training agA pair of F-4EJ Kai Phantoms land at Hyakuri with brake chutes deployed.A British Aerospace U-125A from the Hyakuri Kyunantai (Air Rescue Squadron) departs Hyakuri on a training sortie. Most JASDF airbases have their own rescue squadrons operating U-125s and/or UH-60s.RF-4E 47-6901 of 501 Hikotai taxis for departure. The hikotai is the only dedicated tactical reconnaissance unit in the JASDF.RF-4E Kai Phantom serial 47-6901 taxis back to the 501 Hikotai ramp after a training flight. Three separate camera bays in its reconnaissance nose house photography equipment.Seventeen F-4EJs were converted to the reconnaissance role as RF-4EJs. The RF-4EJs are visually distinguishable from the RF-4Es by the lack of the reconnaissance nose and green-gray camouflage scheme,An AAM-3 short range air-to-air missile-armed F-4EJ takes off from Hyakuri on a sunny, clear afternoon. Before Japan acquired F-15s, the F-4EJ was the mainstay of the JASDF, equipping six fighter squa302 Hikotai and its F-4 Phantoms relocated to Hyakuri from Naha, Okinawa in early 2009. Two of them are seen here after recovering from training flights.Working together with the 302 Hikotai's Phantoms to defend the capital are the F-15J/DJ Eagles from 305 Hikotai.F-15J serial 72-8886 thunders out from Hyakuri. Most of the JASDF Eagles were licensed-built in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.With its airbrake extended, an F-15J keeps its nose up and performs a nice slow run down the runway.A Kawasaki T-4 trainer from 305 Hikotai uses aerodynamic braking to bleed off airspeed after returning from a training sortie.A trio of 305 Hikotai F-15Js taxi out for late-morning training sorties. The hikotai traded its F-4EJs for F-15s in 1993.F-15J 62-8875 gets airborne as the Hyakuri control tower watches on.As the JASDF faces increasingly sophisticated threats from neighboring countries, it is mulling plans to upgrade a number of its 156 F-15J/DJ Eagles to the F-15MJ standard, incorporating improvements

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:Military