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  Cold War Air Power - A Pacific Perspective

Yokota AFB 1984 PACAF / JSDF

Photographic Essay APA-PE-2010-0701

by Dr Carlo Kopp
Text © 2010 Carlo Kopp
Photographic and lineart images © 1984 - 2010 Carlo Kopp

51st TFW A-10A Warthog (© 1984 - 2010 Carlo Kopp).

Yokota AFB is located in the outer Western suburbs of Tokyo, Japan. The airfield was constructed by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force before the outbreak of the Second World War, during which it was designated Tama Airfield and primarily employed for flight testing of Army Air Force aircraft. The airfield is located around 1 mile East of the Tama river, which flows between Tokyo and Yokohama. 

Allied occupation forces in Tokyo soon secured the site, which hosted the 1st Cavalry Division, United States Army Forces Pacific, and became the HQ Pacific Air Command US Army, and in 1947, became the HQ for the 5th Air Force, of the Far East Air Forces, now Pacific Air Forces (PACAF).

Throughout the the Korean War, Yokota was a key hub for US forces in Japan, a role in which it continued through the Cold War, and post Cold War period. During the Korean War, Yokota hosted a wide range of fighter, bomber and reconnaissance units, including B-29s of the 92nd and 98th BG engaged in operations against the DPRK. Since the 1970s, Yokota has been used primarily as a logistical hub and administrative centre.

The imagery in this photoessay was produced by the author in August, 1984, then working as a design engineer on high data rate (then 140 MBit/s @ 1.31 microns) medium haul optical fibre line terminals in Tokyo. Weather conditions were drizzly low overcast, presenting often challenging lighting conditions for the slower film types. A then newly purchased Mamiya M645/1000S was employed, mostly with the Sekor C 80 mm f/2.8 lens.

The aircraft on display presented an interesting mix of late Cold War combat types, and support types, both of US and Japanese origin. US Air Force aircraft based at Kadena AFB, Okinawa, and in South Korea, were on display, in addition to a range of JASDF, JMSDF and JGSDF types.

  1. Yokota AFB @ Google Maps.
  2. Website of Yokota Air Base
  3. Imagery: Mamiya 645/1000S / 80 mm f2.8 / 210 mm f4.0 using Ektachrome 64, Ektachrome 400X, Fuji Super HR100, scanned using Noritsu QSS, retouched/corrected/cropped and reduced.

Air Power Australia Desktops [JPEG ~ 1 MB 1920 x 1080]

F-104J / JASDF
F-104J / JASDF T-10B / JASDF
A-10A / 51st TFW OA-37B / 51st TFW F-15C / 18th TFW

McDonnell-Douglas F-15C Eagle / 18th TFW Kadena AFB

General Dynamics F-16A Falcon / 8th TFW Osan AFB

Mitsubishi/Lockheed F-104J Starfighter / Air Proving Wing JASDF

Republic A-10A Thunderbolt / 51st TFW Suwon AB RoK

Cessna OA-37B Dragonfly / 51st TFW Osan AFB RoK


Kawasaki/Lockheed P-2J/P-2V-Kai / JMSDF

Fuji T-1B-10 / 13th TFW Tsuiki AB JASDF

Kawasaki/Lockheed T-33A / JASDF

Rockwell T-39A Sabreliner / PACAF

Lockheed C-5A Galaxy / 60th MAW Travis AFB

Lockheed C-141B Starlifter / 63rd MAW Norton AFB



Kawasaki C-1A / JASDF

Shin-Meiwa US-1A / JMSDF

Hughes-Kawasaki OH-6J Cayuse / JGSDF

Douglas DC-8-61/62 / Hawaiian Air

Oshkosh P-15 Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) Truck

Imagery Sources: © 1984 - 2010 Carlo Kopp

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