RAF gets familiar with 3 U.S. bases
July 20, 2003
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A British Royal Air Force jet is conducting familiarization flights at several U.S. military bases in Japan.
The VC-10 tanker transport will primarily be operated out of Kadena Air Base on Okinawa until Tuesday, according to Lt. Col. Kevin Krejcarek, a Kadena spokesman.
The plane arrived in Japan on Thursday, making a refueling stop at Yokota before departing for Kadena.
Flying under the auspices of the United Nations Command (Rear), based at Camp Zama, Japan, the aircraft’s 26 crewmembers are conducting test runs from airfields at Yokota, Kadena and Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, Krejcarek said. Those bases are among the seven U.N.-designated airfields in Japan.
The RAF aircraft is being flown here with Japanese government permission under Article 4 of the U.N.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement, Krejcarek said, which gives countries that fought during the Korean War the right to use Japan’s U.N.-designated airfields.
Britain might fly real-world missions from these bases “in war,” Krejcarek added. “The idea is to support any contingency” in the Pacific region.
But, he added, the U.N. familiarization flights are nothing new. “British aircraft have been here before,” Krejcarek said.
The British jet and crew are from the 101st Squadron, Royal Air Force Brize Norton in England. The plane is capable of aerial refueling, similar to a KC-10, Krejcarek said.