The United States Forces Japan welcomed the first operational Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft to the Misawa Air Base during a commemoration ceremony, held on February 24.
This is the second aircraft assembled at Mitsubishi’s facility in Nagoya, Japan.
“I am ecstatic to be here with our Japanese counterparts to help welcome their first fifth-generation aircraft into their fleet,” said 5th Air Force command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Terrence A. Greene. “This visit gave me an opportunity to witness the strong bond shared among U.S. and Japan service members and assure them of their importance to the safety and security across Japan.”
The aircraft is part of the ASDF 42 F-35A aircraft it is expected to procure in total. The first F-35A squadron is expected to be formed by the end of March next year by deploying nine more aircraft to the northeastern base.
Due to Misawa’s strategic location, it is a prime area for U.S. and Japan flying operations, which contributed to its selection for the first JASDF F-35A unit.
“Remembering the ability to operate by, from and through Japan is key to the alliance we are fortunate to have,” said Greene. “Misawa is crucial to our operations due to its location. The spacious area is perfect for training opportunities and I am impressed with the advances being made here”.