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US to Send More Powerful Fighter Jets to Japan Bases Amid Increasing Regional Tension

Home Asia US to Send More Powerful Fighter Jets to Japan Bases Amid Increasing Regional Tension
US to Send More Powerful Fighter Jets to Japan Bases Amid Increasing Regional Tension

The U.S. Department of Defense will deploy newer fighter jets to Japan as part of a $10 billion modernization plan designed to enhance regional deterrence and maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific. It recently unveiled the capability modernization plan for multiple military installations across Japan.

According to DOD, the Air Force will send 36 F-15EX Eagle II aircraft to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa to replace its fleet of older-generation F-15C/D Eagles. 

the Pentagon said that the Joint Force will continue to rotate fourth and fifth-generation planes at Kadena throughout the transition. The Air Force already recalled the aging F-15C/D models stationed in the Pacific. Since 2022, fourth-generation F-15E Strike Eagles and fifth-generation F-35 Lightning IIs from different bases have been operating at Kadena to U.S. presence in the region.

Meanwhile, 36 USAF F-16s will fly to Misawa Air Base in Aomori prefecture to replace the 48 F-35A aircraft currently operating in the region. 

The modernization plan also includes sending more F-35B Lightning II fighter jets to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture.

According to Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, the aircraft upgrades strengthen U.S. defense capabilities amid increased threats from adversaries.

“In the face of the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World War II, and amidst the increased military activities of neighboring countries, the United States is maintaining and strengthening the presence of U.S. forces in Japan to further enhance the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. alliance,” he said.

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