The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) stood up its first operational Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) unit on 26 March.
The milestone took place at the home of the 3rd Air Wing at Misawa Air Base in the northern part of Honshū island, and saw 302nd Squadron swap its McDonnell Douglas-Mitsubishi F-4EJ-Kai Phantom IIs for the F-35A. As well as transitioning over to the new type, the unit has relocated from Hyakuri Air Base to replace the Provisional F-35 Squadron located at Misawa Air Base.
The government of Japan competitively selected the F-35A as Japan’s next-generation front-line fighter in December 2011, primarily to replace its ageing F-4EJs.
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