U.S. Air Force deploys F-22 stealth jets to Japan as a deterrence to North Korea and as a show of force to China

American F-22 stealth aircraft have been deployed to Japan for a deterrence and security exercise in the region.

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth multi-role aircraft from 525th Fighter Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, deployed to Kadena Air Base, in Japan, to take part in exercise Keen Sword, underway from Nov. 8 through Nov. 19.

The deployment has a dual purpose: let U.S. aircrews fly and train with local Japan Air Self Defense Forces, and show the presence of Washington’s most advanced fighter plane in service in a region where tensions have risen over maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

Held biennially since 1986, Exercise Keen Sword includes anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, air-to-air and air defense warfare scenarios. This year, the drills involve about 11,000 personnel from U.S. Forces Japan, 5th Air Force, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, U.S. Army Japan, and III Marine Expeditionary Force. Among the Air Force units taking part in the exercise there are also 33rd Rescue Squadron from Kadena and 212th Rescue Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, that are training with their Japanese colleagues at Komatsu Air Base.

According to the Air Force, F-22s, that have had their combat first against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, have recently been active in training exercises in the region, “serving as a deterrence to North Korea and as a show of force to China.”

Earlier this year Raptors operated out of Osan Air Base, South Korea as part of large-scale exercise Foal Eagle.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Pity we wont just sell the F-22 to the Japanese Air Self Defense Forces. They are more than willing to pay for them and it would help a great deal to pay for the development costs and keep the factories open. It does cost an awful lot of money to deploy our own planes out there.

      • Roland Lawrence,

        Have you seen the “The Comanche and the Albatross” information? A very good read from Col Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF.


        Col. Pietrucha claims that the USAF should purchase a limited number of new aircraft, with 60 F-15Gs and 72 two-seat F-16F Block 70 as the baseline. Such purchases are only partially additive. The Block 70 squadrons will be an in-place upgrade of Block 40 squadrons while the F-15G Strike Weasels are added to the force to replace the long-lost F-4G/EF-111A and the critical expertise that came with them. When economically feasible, existing fourth-generation airframes with significant service life remaining should be upgraded to a common standard.

        The F-15G variant is a modified F-15E+. Its EW systems are migrated from the EA-18G Growler, just as the migration of EA-6B systems to the F-111 Aardvark created the EF-111A Raven.

        Another proposal Col. Pietrucha should include is the Super F-15 TVC ‘Golden’ Eagle from C model airframes rebuilt and upgraded them with.

        1. Supercruising F100-PW-232 or F110-GE-132 engines with 3D circular thrust vectoring nozzles to enhance the manoeuvrability.

        2. Infrared Search and Track (IRST) sensor and Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS).

        3. APG-63v3 AESA and the Eagle passive/active warning and survivability system (EPAWSS) upgrade to EW systems.

        4. Redesigned “S” shaped air intakes with blockers inside to reduce radar detection from head on.

        5. Twin tail fins canted outward 15 degrees like the F-15SE variant.

        The new designation for the F-15 to be called “F-15R Advanced Eagle”.

        The best viable option would be to create a modernised TACAIR fleet consisting of a high-low mix of modernised legacy fighters, retain the existing A-10 fleet with improved upgrades or develop a entirely new CAS aircraft (that has the same A-10’s characteristics) and multi-purpose jet trainer / attack aircraft.

    • yet, you’re using American technology to type this on the internet which is also a American innovation….

  2. Honestly the North Korean leadership is crazy and whacky enough that I really dont think anything short of a full blown invasion wouldn’t scare them. China is a whole different beast all together, the have the ability to knock down out satellites and the weapon system to deny the Navy use of the Western Pacific in a hot war.

    • or simply just buy the USA. They are the biggest holder of debt. $4 trillion last count..

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