Chitose Air Base

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"Chitose Airport" redirects here. For the civilian airport, see New Chitose Airport.
Chitose Air Base
千歳基地
Chitose Kichi
IATA: noneICAO: RJCJ
Summary
Airport type Military
Operator Japan Air Self-Defense Force
Location Chitose, Hokkaidō, Japan
Elevation AMSL 89 ft / 27 m
Coordinates 42°47′40″N 141°39′59″E / 42.79444°N 141.66639°E / 42.79444; 141.66639Coordinates: 42°47′40″N 141°39′59″E / 42.79444°N 141.66639°E / 42.79444; 141.66639
Map
RJCJ is located in Japan
RJCJ
RJCJ
Location in Japan
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
18L/36R 3,000 9,843 Concrete
18R/36L 2,700 8,858 Asphalt concrete
Source: Japanese AIP at AIS Japan[1]
Boeing 747-400 of the Special Air Transport Corps at Chitose Air Base
A Chitose Air Base F-15J in mid flight

Chitose Air Base (千歳基地 Chitose Kichi?) (ICAO: RJCJ), is a Japan Air Self-Defense Force base located in Chitose, Hokkaidō, adjacent to New Chitose Airport. It is the JASDF's primary base in northern Japan and tasked with monitoring Japan's maritime borders with Russia. It was also Hokkaidō's primary civilian airport until the opening of New Chitose Airport in 1988. Together, these two jointly operated and connected airports create one of the largest regional airports in Japan.

History[edit]

US military service[edit]

Chitose's first flight came in 1926, when the Otaru Shimbun newspaper sponsored the "Hokkai One" (Hokkai-ichigō) flight, originating at a 10-hectare air field donated by the villagers of Chitose. In 1939, the Imperial Japanese Navy took over the field.

After Japan's surrender in 1945, ending World War II, the United States Armed Forces took over the base, being primarily under the control of the United States Army Air Forces, and later the United States Air Force Fifth Air Force. Major USAF occupation units assigned to Chitose Air Base were:

The base was used largely as a maintenance and logistics facility in the late 1940s prior to the Korean War, under the operational control of the 314th Air Division, Johnson Air Base. Chintose was operated as a sub-base to Johnson AB. As a result of the Korean War, the 6163d Air Base Wing was activated on 1 January 1951. The airfield was used primarily as an emergency landing field for aircraft returning from combat missions over Korea, and as a maintenance and repair depot by Technical Service Command.

During the Allied occupation, in 1951, Chitose received its first scheduled civilian flights to Tokyo, operated by Japan Airlines.

After the 1953 Korean Armistice, the USAF moved its F-86 Sabre-equipped 4th Fighter Group (later Wing) from Kimpo AB (K-14), South Korea in September 1954. The only American combat unit assigned to Chintose, the squadron provided air defense of Hokkido for several years, being inactivated in place on 1 July 1957 due to budget restrictions.

With the inactivation of the 4th Fighter Wing, Chitose was phased down for return to Japanese control. The 6029th Support Group was activated and continued support for the units assigned to the base. It was inactivated along with the other United States military units at the base on 31 December 1957, returning the facility over to Japanese control. The US maintained a communications facility at the base until December 1970, and formally ended operations at Chitose on June 30, 1975.

Civilian service[edit]

The passenger terminal at Chitose Airport opened in 1963. Chitose quickly overtook Okadama Airport, which was too small to serve jet aircraft, as the main airport serving the Sapporo metropolitan area.

Immigration facilities were constructed in 1969, prior to the opening of the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo. The only scheduled international service at Chitose was a Japan Air System flight to Honolulu with a stop at Tokyo Narita, which operated from 1981 to 1987.

All civilian passenger service was transferred to New Chitose Airport in 1988.

JSDF units based at Chitose[edit]

Northern Air Defense Force[edit]

  • 2nd Air Wing
201st Tactical Fighter Squadron (F-15 Eagle)
203rd Tactical Fighter Squadron (F-15 Eagle)
9th Fire Unit
10th Fire Unit
  • 8th Mobile Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron

Air Support Command[edit]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • February 4, 1966: All Nippon Airways Flight 60 departed Chitose en route to Tokyo Haneda. The plane crashed just moments from its destination, killing all on board.
  • July 30, 1971: All Nippon Airways Flight 58, en route from Chitose to Tokyo Haneda, collided in mid-air with a fighter plane. All on board perished, while the fighter pilot survived.

Chitose Air Base in Fiction[edit]

In the anime OAV 801 T.T.S. Airbats, the series takes place on the Chitose Air Base.

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]