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US to deploy more F-22s in Japan

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F-22As scheduled to deploy in Japan. US Air Force site

TOKYO (BNS): With Russia flexing its military muscles, the US has decided to deploy two additional contingents of F-22 Raptors at Kadena Air Base in Japan bringing the volatile Pacific theater alive once again.


The US Air Force announced that it would dispatch 12 fighters from Langley Air Force Base and an equal number from Andersen Air Force base in Guam and Elmendorf Air Force base in Alaska. Kadena already has a contingent of Raptors which were deployed in February 2007.


F-22 is a fifth generation fighter jet known for its stealth capabilities and super cruise speeds. The aircraft carries the tag of being the most modern and potent weapon system. It is the only operational fifth generation aircraft in the world.

The aircraft is likely to replace ageing fleet of F-15s but high costs of F-22s have put pressure on the Air Force to go slow on the switch over. Last month Pentagon had to give up plans to get 20 additional Raptors costing around $140 million and settled for just four aircraft at $50 million.

The US administration will have to take a crucial call on the future induction of the fighter jets in the Air Force. There is intense pressure from within the Air Force to augment the fleet as F-15s would have to be phased out sooner or later.

The western Pacific region is seeing additional military activities after Russia recently launched exercises as a demonstration of its capabilities. In the wake of the developments, the US has decided to take a new look at the security parameters and consolidate its position. Meanwhile, Kremlin has been unhappy with the intrusive policies of the US in Eastern Europe.

"These deployments underscore the US commitment to Japan as a vital regional partner and signal US resolve to ensure stability and security throughout the Pacific region," said a statement released by the US Air Force.


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