Tag Archives: Japan Air Self Defense Force

U.S. Air Force deploys WC-135 “nuclear sniffer” plane to Japan to monitor North Korea’s possible nuke weapons tests

The WC-135C “nuke hunter” has deployed to Okinawa amid raising nuclear tensions with Pyongyang.

The U.S. Air Force WC-135C Constant Phoenix Nuclear explosion “sniffer” has arrived in Japan.

The aircraft was deployed to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, to monitor Kim Jong Un nuke tests, the Nikkei media outlet reported based on talks with a senior Japan Self Defense Forces official.

The aircraft was supposed to arrive at its Forward Operating Base last month but it was forced to perform an emergency landing at Sultan Iskandar Muda airport in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on its way to Japan, on Mar. 24, following an engine failure.

The two WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft in service today (out of 10 examples operated since the 1960s) are Boeing C-135 transport and support planes derivative belonging to the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron from Offutt Air Force Base, with mission crews staffed by Detachment 1 from the Air Force Technical Applications Center.

The Constant Phoneix, known as the “sniffer” or “weather bird” by its crews, can carry up to 33 personnel.

Constant Phoenix flies in direct support of the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System, a global network of nuclear detection sensors that monitor underground, underwater, space-based or atmospheric events. As the sole agency in the Department of Defense tasked with this mission, AFTAC’s role in nuclear event detection is critical to senior decision makers in the U.S. government, says the Air Force.

“Our aircraft is equipped with external flow devices that allow us to collect airborne particulate on filter paper and a compressor system for whole air samples,” said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Wilkens, a 9S100 and airborne operations section chief in a recent release. “The particulate samples are collected using a device that works like an old Wurlitzer jukebox. An arm grabs the paper from its slot and moves it to the exterior of the fuselage. After exposure, it is returned to the filter magazine where a new paper is selected for use. It’s a simple, yet very effective, concept.”

Effluent gasses are gathered by two scoops on the sides of the fuselage, which in turn trap fallout particles on filters. The mission crews have the ability to analyze the fallout residue in real-time, helping to confirm the presence of nuclear fallout and possibly determine the characteristics of the warhead involved.

This is not the first time the aircraft is moved close to the Korean peninsula in anticipation of Kim Jong Un rocket launches; moreover, the WC-135 has already been deployed to Japan back in 2011, when it was used to track radioactive activity around Fukushima following, a type of mission the aircraft had already flown in 1986 following the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in the Soviet Union.

The aircraft 62-3582 has recently completed a “tour” in Europe, arriving on Feb. 17, 2017 and conducting several missions both in the Barents Sea area and in the Mediterranean Sea until mid March. The pretty rare deployment to RAF Mildenhall, UK, amid raising concern for an alleged spike in Iodine levels around Norway, fueled speculations that the U.S. had sent the detection aircraft to investigate the reasons behind the radioactive levels detected in northern Europe at the beginning of January.

However, the “nuke hunter” plane was on a “pre-planned rotational deployment scheduled in advance,” according to the Air Force spokeswoman Erika Yepsen.

This time, with a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group heading to the Korean Peninsula, there is no doubt as to the aim of the deployment of the “sniffer” to Japan.

Image credit: Ken H / @chippyho via Wiki Commons

Salva

This Video Will Literally Bring You To The Paradise of Phantoms!

Here’s an outstanding video from one of the world’s last Phatom operators.

Although they don’t fly with the USAF anymore, other air arms around the world still operate the F-4 Phantom, including the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force; the Turkish Air Force, whose F-4s have had a role in the coup attempt last July; South Korea’s ROKAF (Republic of Korea Air Force), that has also employed the Phantoms to stage Elephant Walks “against” the North; the Hellenic Air Force and the Japanese Air Self Defense Force.

Located in central eastern Japan, Hyakuri airbase, hosts all the remaining F-4 Phantom units of the Japan Air Self Defense Force: 301 and 302 Hilotai, flying the F-4E, and the 501 Hikotai, flying the RF-4E. Needless to say, for this reason, this base is the place to visit for Phantom lovers.

The following video provides some really cool footage about the daily activities of the Japanese “Rhinos” at Hyakuri: all-weather take-offs, landings and taxis, along with high-speed passes in slow motion.

Cool.

The Paradise of Phantoms from 1-300 on Vimeo.

 

Japan’s X-2 “Shinshin” indigenous stealth jet makes first flight

The first Japanese stealth jet made its maiden flight.

The first prototype of  the indigenous stealth war plane that Japan Air Self-Defense Force will operate in the air defense role, replacing the ageing Mitsubishi F-2, made its first flight on Apr. 22 from Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works airport, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries facilities.

Previously designated Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X (ATD-X), the X-2, serialled 51-0001, is developed by the Japanese Ministry of Defense Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI), the agency that has been working on the “Shinshin” (“spirit of the heart,” an early codename within the Japan Self Defense Force) for research purposes for more than a decade.

For the moment, it is painted in the red and white colors of Japan (to be probably replaced by a far more advanced grey RAM – radar absorbing material – coating), features canted vertical tails (with a steeper angle than the F-15 Silent Eagle), a bubble canopy that is meant to provide the pilot with a good frontal visibility, and twin-engine design with the thrust vectoring paddles on the exhausts (reminding what seen on the NASA X-31 and F-18 HARV) to increase the aircraft maneuverability (do you remember the F-22 Raptor?).

Image credit: Japan MoD

 

Japan’s new stealth jet fighter has been officially unveiled

Mitsubishi ATD-X Shinshin stealth fighter has rolled out.

Last month, a leaked, blurry image provided an interesting preview of the first prototype of the Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X (ATD-X), the indigenous war plane that Japan Air Self-Defense Force will operate in the air defense role, replacing the ageing Mitsubishi F-2.

On Jul. 12, the first official photos of the ATD-X (serialled 51-0001) were released by the Japanese Ministry of Defense Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI), the Ministry of Defense’s agency that has developed the Shinshin (“spirit of the heart”, an early codename within the Japan Self Defense Force) for research purposes.

Indeed, the ATD-X will be used for the development of the F-3, Japan’s next generation stealth jet.

Noteworthy, the “new” images were taken on May 8, 2014, when the painting of the canted vertical tails radar-evading air superiority fighter with enhanced maneuverability ended.

ATD-X first prototype side

Image credit: mod.go.jp via Alert 5 (H/T to Antonio Valencia for the heads-up).

 

The astounding statistics of the Japanese Air Defense

According to the Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense, the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) has scrambled its jets 138 times throughout the last quarter of 2013.

All that happened due to the alleged provocative behaviour of China’s Air Force.

The number is pretty high, second highest during 2013. Only first quarter of last year was more intense with 146 scrambles; in Q2 (second quarter of the year) there were 69 interventions with 80 in Q3.

Obviously, much of the activity is related to crisis around Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

In the period of 1945 and 1972 it was governed by the USA. Had it not been for this period the archipelago has been under the Japanese jurisdiction since 1895.

After 1972 the ownership was disputed by China, that claimed the islands, as well as Taiwan. The strategic location of the islands, fish density and probable oil reserves make this area highly desirable.

Japanese stance, on the flipside, is that the islands were found terra nullius by Japan late in the 19th century. Chinese argue that there is evidence that the islands were posessed by China before the first Sino-Japanese war in 1894-1895. The argument Chinese state is that the islands, being a part of territories conquered by the Imperial Japan, should be henceforth returned.

Anyway, regardless of the validity of the claims by both sides, what is clear is that the amount of scrambles by the Japanese QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) cells can be used to measure the status of the (difficult) diplomatic relationships on the Beijing-Tokyo line.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Image Credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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