A dozen F-22 Raptors have arrived in Japan amid tensions in Northeast Asia over North Korea’s nuclear test

An F-22 Raptor lands at Langley Air Force Base, Va., April 17, 2014. The 94th Fighter Squadron F-22 returned from a nearly four-month deployment to Kadena Air Base, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Antoinette Gibson/Released)

The U.S. Air Force has deployed 12 Alaska-based F-22 Raptor multirole jets to Yokota airbase, near Tokyo.

Twelve F-22s belonging to the 525th Fighter Squadron from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, have arrived at Yokota airbase, in western Tokyo, on Jan. 20.

The dozen Raptor stealth fighters will soon be joined by 14 F-16s from the 18th Aggressor Squadron, based at Eielson AFB, Alaska, and will be involved in a previously scheduled joint training in Japan.

Although it’s still not clear whether the aircraft belong to an Air Force Theater Security Package (TSP), their presence in the region will also “promote” stability amid growing tensions in the Asia-Pacific theater following North Korea’s nuclear test on Jan. 6 and the election of a pro-independence president in Taiwan.

F-22s often deploy to Japan since the USAF has started rotating fighters to Pacific Command bases in March 2004 “to maintain a prudent deterrent against threats to regional security and stability.”

However, the stealth jets usually deploy to Kadena airbase, in Okinawa, home of the 18th Wing, the largest combat wing in the U.S. Air Force composed by F-15s, E-3s AWACS, KC-135s and HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters.

Image credit: File photo U.S. Air Force

About David Cenciotti 3733 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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 four books.