Four of the Air Force’s new C-130J tactical airlifters flew a total of 5,444 sorties over the course of a 20-month “trial” deployment to Southwest Asia, according to statistics just released by Lockheed Martin. Those four transports—from Air National Guard units in California, Maryland, and Rhode Island—hauled more than 12,000 tons of cargo and 70,000 passengers. Air Mobility Command declared initial operational capability with the J Model last fall.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.