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"Eight more F-22 stealth fighters arrive in Japan"
Eight more F-22 stealth fighters arrive in Japan
Sunday, February 18, 2007; 9:38 AM
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (Reuters) - The United States sent eight more
U.S. F-22 stealth fighter planes to the southern Japanese island of
Okinawa on Sunday in their first full deployment overseas.
The Raptors, the U.S. Air Force's most advanced fighters and said to
be the most expensive fighter planes ever built, arrived at the U.S.
Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, a Reuters photographer and a TV cameraman
Their arrival was a week later than originally scheduled, although on
Saturday an advance pair of F-22 Raptors landed.
Dozens of activists gathered near the air base to protest the
deployment in Japan of the stealth fighter planes. "Raptors, go home!"
they repeatedly shouted in chorus.
Ten Raptors had been expected to land in Japan on Sunday, but only
eight arrived. U.S. Air Force officials said the other two stealth
fighter planes had landed on Wake Island, Hawaii, because one of the
planes had trouble with its generator.
A U.S. military spokesman earlier denied a report that the delay was
due to a demand from North Korea during six-country talks on its
nuclear arms programmed in Beijing, which ended last Tuesday with an
The U.S. Air Force first cited "operational reasons" as the cause of
the delay of the three-month deployment, then said it was because of
U.S. Air Force General Ronald Keys said last month that the F-22 was
combat-ready, rejecting a report by the Pentagon's Office of
Operational Test and Evaluation that said it was still not
"operationally suitable" because its defensive avionics had response-
time and threat-identification problems.
The Raptors are able to gather data from multiple sources to track,
identify and kill air-to-air threats before being detected by radar,
and have significant surface-strike capability, according to the U.S.
Air Force Web site.
The airplane's first overseas deployment would help acquaint U.S.
forces in the Pacific region with the new war fighter and allow joint
training with F-16, F-15E and F-18 fighter jets in the region, Lt.
Col. Wade Tolliver, commander of the 27th Fighter Squadron of F-22s,
said last month.
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