F-22 Raptors to Kadena Air Base
January 15, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo
On January 14, nine U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighters flew in to Kadena Air Base. The U.S. Air Force plans to deploy a total of twelve of these aircraft to Kadena within the next four months, with the remaining three aircraft coming on January 15.
Local citizens opposed the deployment, saying that it will mean even worse levels of noise.
The F-22 is the latest type of fighter, using stealth technology to make it less detectable by radar or sonar. The nine aircraft that flew to Kadena Air Base belong to the Joint Base Langley-Eustis. The fighters came in from the western side of Okinawa accompanied by two KC-10 Extender aircraft and landed on the northern runway between 3:53pm and 4:30pm.
On January 11, the U.S. military announced that they would deploy a total of 300 personnel to Kadena from the 1st Regimental Combat Team of Langley Air Force Base and the 192d Fighter Wing of the Virginia Air National Guard. This is the seventh occasion that the U.S. military has deployed F-22 aircraft to Kadena Air
Base since 2007 when the aircraft were first deployed.
The U.S. Air Force had temporarily grounded the F-22 fleet after several incidents of pilots complaining of hypoxia-like symptoms, and several crashes occurring. The U.S. military stated that they have resolved safety issues by improving the on-board oxygen generating system, and resumed F-22 flying operations. These aircraft were deployed to Kadena Air Base for three months from last July.
(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)
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