US Japan ZZ F 15 credit USAF 640New USAF 4th and 5th generation fighters will be based in Japan

On 3 July 2024, the US Department of Defense (DoD) officially announced to bolster United States Air Force bases in Japan.

Being officially announced for the first time, the future of Kadena's 44th Fighter Squadron Vampire Bats, 67th Fighter Squadron Fighting Cocks, both part of the 18th Wing and Misawa's 13th Fighter Squadron Panthers and 14th Fighter Squadron Fighting Samurai, both part of the 35th Fighter Wing, have now been secured.

The USAF will upgrade its presence at Kadena Air Base, on the island of Okinawa, by permanently deploying 36 Boeing F-15EX Eagle IIs.

On 21 August 2020, Scramble Magazine predicted about Kadena being considered high on the priority list to be receiving the new F-15EX. While the last legacy Eagles have vacated Kadena soon, the USAF will continue to maintain a rotational presence of 4th- and 5th-generation fighters at Kadena throughout this transition.

The USAF will also upgrade its presence at Misawa Air Base (Aomori Prefect, Japan) from 36 F-16C/D Fighting Falcons to 48 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning IIs, leading to greater tactical aircraft capacity and capability. The USAF modernisation plan, which will be implemented over the next several years, reflects over USD 10 billion of capability investments to enhance the US-Japan Alliance. It will also bolster regional deterrence and strengthen peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

US Japan WW F 16 credit USAF 560 US Japan F 35 credit USAF 560

Although deliveries of the F-15EX to the Oregon Air National Guard are now ongoing, the second unit to receive the Eagle II will be the 18th Wing at Kadena. It is expected that the first new ZZ aircraft will be seen at Boeing's St.Louis plant somewhere during the first quarter of 2025. At this moment it is unknown when the first new 35th Fighter Wing WW coded F-35As will show up at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth production plant.

Credit photos: USAF

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