Japanese F-15J With Special Markings Celebrates 100th Anniversary Of The Italian Air Force


The F-15J ‘963’ with the special markings at Komatsu AB (JASDF)

Ahead of the deployment of the Italian Air Force F-35s to Komatsu, the JASDF has unveiled an F-15J with special markings that celebrate the Centennial of the Aeronautica Militare.

On Aug. 3, 2023, the JASDF has officially rolled out the F-15J the service has prepared to welcome the Italian Air Force F-35s deploying for the first time to Japan for joint training. In fact, as already reported, four F-35As with the 32° Stormo (Wing) from Amendola Air Base and 6° Stormo from Ghedi Air Base, accompanied by three KC-767 tankers and one G550 CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft of the 14th Wing from Pratica di Mare, and a C-130J from the 46^ Brigata Aerea (Air Brigade) from Pisa, are currently on their way to Komatsu Air Base.

From Aug. 4 to Aug. 8, 2023, the Italian Lightning II jets will conduct bilateral 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.

The purpose of the joint training is to improve tactical skills and promote mutual understanding, and further deepen defense cooperation to realize a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”. 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.

To celebrate the first trip of an Italian contingent with tactical aircraft since the service was established in 1923, the JASDF has prepared an F-15J in special color scheme, that was presented by the Twitter account of Komatsu Air Base on their official account.

The left side of the aircraft has been given the Italian flag colors (green, white and red) that extend to the wings. The left tail sports the logo of the Italian Air Force Centennial, while the left underwing tank is painted with the motto “In volo verso il futuro” (Italian for “Flying towards the future”).

The special colored F-15J will welcome the Italian contingent whose deployment has been delayed by Typhoon Khanun. The Italians are currently waiting for an improvement of the weather at Singapore, where they have arrived a couple of days ago via Doha, Maldive.

Interestingly, the series of tweets of the Komatsu AB Twitter (or X….) account, includes also the image of a A teru teru bōzu (Japanese: てるてる坊主 or 照る照る坊主, literally “shine shine monk”). This is a small traditional handmade that originated from the Edo period in Japan, made from white paper or cloth, that Japanese farmers began hanging outside of their window by a string. This talisman is supposed to have magical powers to bring good weather and to stop or prevent a rainy day. A nice way to wish for an improvement in the weather that would allow the Italian aircraft to reach Japan!


David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


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