MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan, April 28 (UPI) -- The first of 18 F-2 fighters of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force damaged in a 2011 earthquake and tsunami has been returned to service.
The fully repaired aircraft, originally based at Matsushima Air Base, was flown to Misawa Air Base last week, where it will be joined by five other repaired F-2s, the U.S. Air Force reported.
Matsushima Air Base was badly damaged in the disasters and is still being rebuilt.
The F-2 is a multi-role fighter manufactured for Japan by Mitsubishi Industries and Lockheed Martin. It was first introduced into service in 2000.
The U.S. Air Force said the repaired plane was welcomed in a ceremony at Misawa Air Base.
"This [the plane's repair] shows Japan has being recovering," said Maj. Gen. Hirohide Inoue, JASDF Misawa installation and 3rd Air Wing commander.
Information as to when repaired F-2s would arrive at the base was not disclosed.