a href=”http://bp2.blogger.com/_RRbP6fpJWAc/RkMXM5Y6K1I/AAAAAAAAADI/zPpGU2WC5uQ/s1600-h/410w.jpg”img id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5062915916425734994″ style=”FLOAT: left; MARGIN: 0px 10px 10px 0px; CURSOR: hand” alt=”” src=”http://bp2.blogger.com/_RRbP6fpJWAc/RkMXM5Y6K1I/AAAAAAAAADI/zPpGU2WC5uQ/s320/410w.jpg” border=”0″ //abr /divTOKYO : Two of the newest and most expensive fighters in the U.S. Air Force wrapped up a three-month deployment and roared out of Japanese skies Thursday, completing the F-22 stealth fighter’s debut on the international stage./divbr /div/divbr /divThe planes, the last of a dozen F-22s on the deployment, left the southern Japanese island of Okinawa several hours later than the rest because of “maintenance concerns,” the Air Force said in a statement from Kadena Air Base on Okinawa.br /The statement did not elaborate on what the problems were.br /It said after a complete check, the planes were approved to leave Kadena and move to “another location in the Pacific region.” The first 10 F-22s departed Kadena on schedule before dawn Thursday for their home base in Langley, Va.br /The fighters arrived on Okinawa in February.br /The deployment of the Air Force’s most advanced fighter to Japan was intended to show off the jet’s strengths in a region with a complex security balance that is being challenged by the rapid growth of Chinese and North Korean military power, and to provide training opportunities for the pilots and enhance cooperation with the Japanese military.br /Japan’s Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma hailed the mission, saying it presented a “great opportunity” to train together.br /Tokyo and Washington were reportedly considering another deployment of the planes to Japan, but there were no plans to regularly bring F-22s to the country.br /Under a mutual security pact, the U.S. maintains about 50,000 troops in Japan.br /Japan, which is planning to replace its aging F-4 fighters with a more advanced aircraft, is a potential market for U.S. fighters, but has expressed concern over the high cost of the F-22 and possible licensing problems./div

Spread This Content