The next rotation of US aircraft to the Philippines arrived June 15, as a group of Navy EA-18G Growlers landed at Clark Air Base from NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. The four aircraft and about 120 personnel are part of a US Pacific Command air contingent established in April “to promote interoperability and security cooperation,” according to a Pacific Air Forces release. The first rotation of US aircraft to the country, a group of A-10s and HH-60G Pave Hawks, finished their deployment in late April. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in announcing the deployment, said US aircraft will participate in patrols of the South China sea in addition to training in the region.
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.