F-22s deployed to Kadena AB, Japan, from JB Langley-Eustis, Va., earlier this month joined with F-15s of the Japan Air Self Defense Force for bilateral training, announced Kadena officials. This marked the fourth time that the US fifth generation fighters and Japanese fourth generation fighters have paired for air superiority drills since 2007, states Kadena’s April 15 release, which came 10 days after the training took place. The Japanese F-15s were from Naha Air Base, also on Okinawa. By training with the F-22s, and understanding their capabilities, the Japanese pilots are able to improve tactical skills, said Lt. Col. Hiroaki Murakami, the JASDF’s 204th Tactical Fighter Squadron commander. Lt. Col. Jason Hinds, who’s leading Langley’s 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Kadena, said training with the Japanese is an integral piece of the Air Force’s mission in the Asia-Pacific region. Plus, the time spent on Okinawa gives Raptor pilots the opportunity to work with the assets of Kadena’s 18th Wing, he said. Among the aircraft that call Kadena home are F-15s, E-3 AWACS, and KC-135 tankers. The F-22s are scheduled to return to Langley later this spring. (Kadena report by SrA. Maeson L. Elleman)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.