Dr. Hidetoshi Hirata began his Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) career in 1980 after completing his master’s degree at Tokyo University, where he specialized in aeronautical engineering. During his career, Dr. Hirata was involved in operationally testing the F-15J fighter, flight testing the T-2CCV (control configured vehicle) research aircraft, as well as developing the XT-4 intermediate trainer aircraft and the FSX (currently known as the F2 fighter jet). From 1994, Dr. Hirata worked for many years at the Defense Planning and Policy Department of the Air Staff Office, where he was involved in drafting several National Defense Program Outlines and Mid-term Defense Programs, the relocation of the Air Combat Command headquarters to Yokota AFB which strengthened Japan-U.S. corporation, the introduction of aerial refueling aircraft, and the selection of the F-35 fighter jet. In addition, Dr. Hirata engaged in defense policy related to the Air Self-Defense Force, development of defense capabilities, and defense exchanges with other countries. Furthermore, Dr. Hirata served as the director general of the Defense Planning and Policy Department (A5) at the Air Staff Office from 2007-2009.
Additionally, Dr. Hirata served as commander of various units such as the 3rd Air Wing stationed at Misawa AFB (2004-2006), Air Rescue Wing (2006-2007), and the Southwestern Composite Air Division (currently the Southwestern Air Defense Force) stationed in Okinawa (2009-2011). Afterwards, he oversaw human resource development for the Japan Air-Self-Defense Force as the commandant of the Air Staff College (2011-2012) and the commander of the Air Training Command (2012-2013). Dr. Hirata became a major general in 2004 and lieutenant general in 2009 and retired from the JASDF in 2013 as commander of the Air Training Command.
Throughout Dr. Hirata’s JASDF career, his thorough knowledge of aerospace engineering and adept networking skills helped increase the JASDF’s recognition on the international stage and modernize the JASDF’s airpower. He also exercised strong leadership as commander of various wings and forces. Currently, Dr. Hirata serves as a strategic advisor for Nippon Aircraft Supply Co., Ltd. He received his PhD in aeronautical engineering from Stanford University (1990). In addition, Dr. Hirata received a MS in national resources strategy from the Industrial College of Armed Forces at the National Defense University (1999) in Washington, DC, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Tokyo University.