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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — A problem with the navigation system of the Air Force’s most expensive and newest fighter jet has forced the delay of the aircraft’s first overseas deployment.

Twelve F-22A Raptors were headed to Kadena over the weekend, but shortly after nine took off Sunday they returned to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, because of a software glitch, according to an Air Force news statement.

Air Force officials said Raptor engineers and maintainers are working to fix the problem.

Although no date has been set for when the 27th Fighter Squadron from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia will arrive at Kadena, officials said the jets and more than 250 personnel will be deploying to Okinawa.

“We’re still standing by,” said Kadena spokesman Master Sgt. Jeffrey Loftin.

The Raptors stopped at Hickam last week on their way to Okinawa for what will be a scheduled rotational assignment.

No other details about the software problem or the deployment were released.

A fact sheet about the F-22A Raptor on the Air Force’s Web site says the jet “will have better reliability and maintainability than any fighter aircraft in history.”

The jets, which eventually will replace the F-15, can perform both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, will be more difficult to detect and are “an exponential leap in war-fighting capabilities,” according to the Web site.

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