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F-22 Raptors ‘on station’ at Kadena

Date Posted: 2007-02-23

Ten of the Air Force’s most sophisticated stealth fighters are now at Kadena Air Base, ready to demonstrate “the flexibility US forces have to meet ongoing security obligations throughout the Pacific”.

The aircraft arrived over the weekend on a flight hop from Hawaii. Two additional F-22 Raptors will arrive within the next few days after experiencing minor technical glitches after leaving Hawaii. They’re at Wake Island undergoing generator repairs.

Kadena Air Base will be home to the 27th Fighter Squadron, which owns the Raptors, for at least three months deployment training. Officials say the Pacific mission could extend into a fourth month on Okinawa. The Raptors are home based at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, and are making their first venture outside the U.S.

“They’re a very formidable asset,” says the U.S. Forces Japan Commander. Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright explains it is vital for these pilots get the international experience flying overseas and training with Japanese Self Defense Forces. Wright says there are no plans to station the F-22’s in Japan, noting they are expected to be posted to Hawaii and Alaska. Raptors at hose bases, Wright says, will provide Pacific air power needed for air superiority.

F-22’s are costing U.S. taxpayers $350 million each, leading the Air Force to cut back its initial 750 aircraft order to 183. The Raptor’s stealth capabilities allow it to evade most radars while flying higher, faster and longer at supersonic speeds.

A spokesman for the 27th Fighter Squadron says the 12 Raptors will engage in training missions with Kadena’s F-15 fighters, and also with regional Naval assets. Additional training could involve Japanese Self Defense Force F-16’s from Misawa Air Base in mainland Japan.

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