After being delayed by a typhoon, the Italian Air Force F-35 aircraft have finally arrived in Japan.
At 21.20 LT on Aug. 4, 2023, four F-35As with the 32° Stormo (Wing) from Amendola Air Base and 6° Stormo from Ghedi Air Base have landed at Komatsu Air Base, Japan. The Lightning jets flew from Italy to Japan accompanied by three KC-767 tankers, one G550 CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft of the 14th Wing from Pratica di Mare, and one C-130J from the 46^ Brigata Aerea (Air Brigade) from Pisa.
In the next days the Italian stealth aircraft will take part in joint training with the local based F-15s of the 6th Air Wing, that will also be supported by the KC-767 tankers of the 1st Tactical Airlift Group to improve tactical skills and promote mutual understanding, and further deepen defense cooperation.
The exercise will also be the opportunity for the two air forces to share their experiences, considered the commonality in the fleets of the ItAF and JASDF: both are F-35 operators (and plan to operate a mixed fleet of A and B models) and both operate the Boeing KC-767 tankers.
The arrival of the Italian aircraft was delayed by two days by Khanun, a typhoon that has hit Japan causing widespread devastation but the trip from Italy (that, considered the legs flown via Doha, Maldive and Singapore was close to 15,000 kilometers) was the opportunity to put the expeditionary capabilities of the Italian Air Force 5th generation aircraft to test.
“Today, it is an important and symbolic day for aviation of Italy and Japan,” stated Col. Luca Crovatti, Italian Air Force Mission Commander, referring to the Rome-Tokyo flight done in 1920. “At that time, two brave Italian pilots arrived in Japan after a three-month journey aboard simple biplanes. This year, in the 100th Anniversary of the Italian Air Force, we replicated that deed coming again in this friendly country with some of the most advanced aircraft in the world”.
Responding to a question from the Japanese press, Col. Crovatti added: “In the coming days, our pilots, flight operators and technicians will train together with their Japanese colleagues from Koku-Jieitai, to share techniques, training objectives and operational procedures. Through events like this, and through collaboration on ambitious technological programmes such as GCAP (Global Combat Air Programme), Italy and Japan will contribute to raising the operational and training standards of the Air Force of the future’.
#ItalianAirForce crews arrived today in Komatsu Air Base #Japan, ready for a bilateral exercise with @JASDF_PAO_ENG. This trail gave us the chance to challenge our expeditionary capability 10.000 km away from home pic.twitter.com/jMfbOrWApF
— Aeronautica Militare (@ItalianAirForce) August 4, 2023
To celebrate the historic joint training and honor the Centennial of the Aeronautica Militare, the JASDF has given an F-15J special markings. A special patch featuring the logo of Italian Air Force’s 100th anniversary, the silhouettes of the F-35 and F-15J, the sacred mountain Hakusan, and the black lily of Ishikawa Prefecture (where Komatsu AB is located.)
— 航空自衛隊 小松基地(Official) (@JasdfKomatsu) August 4, 2023