Two Air Force F-22 Raptor aircraft fly behind a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. Twelve F-22s and about 300 personnel from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., are deploying to Kadena Air Force Base, Japan. (Senior Airman Zachary Perras / Air Force)
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A new batch of Raptors is heading to Japan.
Twelve F-22s and about 300 personnel from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., are deploying to Kadena Air Force Base, the Air Force announced Tuesday.
F-22 squadrons have deployed on a regular rotation to Japan as part of the pivot to the Asia-Pacific region — an effort to “maintain a prudent deterrent against threats to regional security and stability,” according to the Air Force.
The aircraft and crews, assigned to the 94th Fighter Squadron at Langley, are part of the regular rotation to Kadena along with the 27th Fighter Squadron, also based at Langley. The deployments typically are for four months.
The aircraft typically trains with F-15s of the 18th Wing at Kadena and with other U.S., partner nation and host nation units. Last spring, the F-22s from the 94th were temporarily sent to Osan Air Base, South Korea, for Exercise Foal Eagle.
The deployment also comes shortly after China announced its Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea. U.S. officials have opposed the expansion of the defense zone, and have said that the military will continue flying in the region.