JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.53
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60th Anniversary of the Air Self-Defense Force

60th Anniversary of the Air Self-Defense Force

Blue Impulse is an expert team that specializes in giving gorgeous acrobatic demonstrations at ASDF airshows and major civilian events, aimed at publicizing the ASDF. “The 11th squadron” is the official name of the team, which belongs to the 4th Air Wing on Matsushima Air Base, Miyagi Prefecture.

The six planes, colored blue and white, present breathtaking surprises to those watching them for the first time. Their sensational performances unfurl one after the other, with neat formations in the sky and dynamic solo stunts.

From left: Lt. Gen. Angelella, Commander of the USFJ and the 5th Air Force / Defense Minister Onodera / General Saitoh, Chief of Air Staff
From left: Lt. Gen. Angelella, Commander of the USFJ and the 5th Air Force / Defense Minister Onodera / General Saitoh, Chief of Air Staff
Poster for the ASDF 60th Anniversary
Poster for the ASDF 60th Anniversary

On July 1st, 2014, the Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) celebrates its 60th anniversary of their establishment. The ASDF Iruma base held the commemorative ceremony in late May in which high ranking officials including Defense Minister, Chief of the Joint Staff, Chief of the Air Staff, senior officials of the ASDF, former ASDF officers, and others participated.

The history of the ASDF dates back to July 1st, 1954. It was established along with the Defense Agency (current Ministry of Defense) that had previously been the National Safety Agency, as well as the GSDF and MSDF that changed their names from the National Safety Forces and the Coastal Safety Force, respectively.

General Harukazu Saitoh, the Chief of Air Staff issued a message below to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the ASDF.

“This year marks the 60 years milestone since Japan ASDF was established. We have heard that the founding a new service was controversial and of tremendous difficulty in the aftermath of the WWII. We used defense equipment that we took over from the U.S. Air Force, and it literally was a start from scratch.

The ASDF has expanded its scale dramatically in the last 60 years. The initial asset was relatively small, with only approx. 6,700 personnel and 150 aircraft, which is now developed to become a gigantic organization embracing approx. 50,000 personnel and cutting edge equipment such as fighter jets including F-15, F-2, Early Warning and Control Aircraft, and Air refueling and transportation aircraft while developing next generation transport aircraft (CX-2). As such, the ASDF now has a presence in the world, side by side with other major countries’ forces, thanks to the support by relevant parties. Needless to say, we very much owe our development to enthusiastic predecessors, and I would truly like to show my deepest gratitude to all the parties concerned.”

Against the backdrop of the rapid change in international security environment, the role of the ASDF has become increasingly important these days. The goal for the ASDF is to be an organization that is completely trusted, both domestically and internationally.

Since its establishment, the ASDF has built proud tradition of dedicated and trusted service to the nation and its people. The ASDF will continue to work tirelessly around the clock to protect the peace and security of Japan and its airspace.

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