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Air Force Raptors deploy to Okinawa after departure of F-35A fighters

Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to 525th Fighter Squadron from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, taxi at Kadena Air Base, Japan, May 29, 2018.

MATTHEW FREDERICKS/U.S. AIR FORCE

By JAMES BOLINGER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 31, 2018

Air Force F-22 Raptors deployed to Okinawa this week to replace a squadron of F-35A Lightning II stealth jets.

Fourteen of the fifth-generation fighters from the 525th Fighter Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, will be stationed at Kadena Air Base for about a month, according Japan’s Mainichi newspaper.

The Raptors, which were last deployed to Japan in 2014, are replacing F-35As that departed this year after a six-month rotation, an Air Force statement said.

There has been a flurry of activity in the region this year regarding fifth-generation fighters, including the first-ever embarkment of the Marine Corps’ F-35B Lighting II on the USS Wasp amphibious-assault ship during a patrol that ended in April.

Earlier this month, the Marine jets, which are capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings, trained with Japan Self-Defense Force F-35As for the first time at Misawa Air Base in northern Japan.

bolinger.james@stripes.com
Twitter: @bolingerj2004

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