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