Blue Impulse, or 11 Squadron, is the aerobatic demonstration team of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Originally founded in 1960 as a team of six F-86 Sabres, the team switched to the Mitsubishi T-2 in 1980 and then to the Kawasaki T-4 in 1995. They are based at Matsushima Air Base, which was heavily damaged by a tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The first unofficial Japanese aerobatic team was formed in 1958 at Hamamatsu airbase. The team used F-86F Sabre fighters which did not have a special color scheme. After four demonstrations, the team was disbanded. The next year the USAF Thunderbirds visited Japan, and inspired Japan's Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) commanding officers to establish an official aerobatic team. In 1960 the new team was formed at Hamamatsu airbase flying five F-86F fighters, with three of the pilots coming from Japan's 1958 team.
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