French forces have returned to the coalition fight in Afghanistan, flying on May 2 their first mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom since November 2005. Air Force Maj. Gen. Allen Peck, the deputy Combined Force Air Component Commander, said the French delegation at the combined air and space operations center plays an important role in the OEF mission, helping to coordinate close air support, tactical reconnaissance, and aerial refueling missions. During their last tour in Southwest Asia, French aircrews flew more than 400 sorties, logging approximately 2,000 flying hours in the M-2000 Mirage, the F-1 Mirage, and the C-135 SR tanker.
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.