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Mystery snag stalls F-22 Raptor arrival at Kadena

Date Posted: 2007-02-19

The free world’s most sophisticated fighter aircraft is behind schedule on it deployment to Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base.

The twelve jets were to have arrived last weekend on a flight from Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, but it didn’t happen. Flying it’s maiden overseas deployment, the Raptors cleared the ground in Hawaii, headed for southern Japan and Okinawa. Hours into the flight, the planes turned back to Hawaii, and officials offered no explanation why.

The expensive Raptors, which cost $135 million per aircraft, are supposed to spend 3-4 months in a training mission on Okinawa. Pacific Air Forces calls the deployment a means of demonstrating the fighter aircraft’s strengths in the Asia Theater, where tensions are running high and threats abound because of North Korean and Chinese military moves.

The Air Force was to purchase 750 of the high technology aircraft, which can fly higher, faster and longer than any previous fighter, but higher-than-anticipated construction costs have forced the military to trim that order back to fewer than 200 orders. With its ability to cruise supersonic speeds without using its afterburner, the F-22 and its stealth design make the world’s most expensive fighter plane a key player in attack missions.

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