The U.S. military performed a significant capabilities demonstration of its fighter jet fleet in Japan one day after U.S. and British counterintelligence and law enforcement officials warned about the threat posed by China. The exercise featured F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lighting II stealth fighter jets.
Numerous stealth fighter aircraft
34 aircraft were present in all for the capabilities display. More specifically, 10 F-35A Lightning II stealth fighters, 10 F-22 Raptors, 8 F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters, 5 F/A-18 Hornets, and 1 KC-130J Super Hercules tanker aircraft participated in the drill. The Air Force and Marine Corps of the United States provided the planes.
The massive formation exercise “tested the units’ capacity to rapidly create joint airpower in support of the defence of Japan, ensuring the stability and security of a free and open Indo-Pacific area,” according to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM).
After the showing of capabilities, the aircraft flew training missions over Iwakuni.
“With the help of our MAG-12 partners and their varied aircraft, it was a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our unified airpower potential. We were able to further our already effective integration strategies with the U.S. Marine Corps thanks to this demonstration and the follow-up joint training missions, according to U.S. Air Force Colonel David Berkland, who is also the commanding officer of the 354th Air Expeditionary Wing.
The 354th Air Expeditionary Wing has been in Japan for more than a month now training units stationed there in Agile Combat Employment (ACE).
As the Great Power Competition with China intensifies in the future, ACE is one of the more crucial ideas for the U.S. Air Force. The F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets are among the aircraft the Air Force aims to swiftly deploy and disperse using the ACE concept to both conventional and non-conventional airbases and airstrips throughout the Indo-Pacific area of operations.
Making it more difficult for the Chinese military to shut down or interfere with air operations in a single “Pearl Harbor-style” attack is the fundamental goal of the ACE concept. Ballistic, cruise, and hypersonic missile systems, among other powerful long-range firing capabilities, have been developed by Beijing and might be deployed to attack American sites throughout the theatre.
According to a news release from INDOPACOM, “MCAS Iwakuni is particularly qualified to enable the Joint Force, be it through provision of use of the station’s collocated harbour and airfield, serving as a staging location for non-organic aircraft operations, or any other operational actions.”
It is crucial to stress that the capabilities demonstration was not related to the information released by the FBI and MI5, the British domestic intelligence agency, and was instead pre-planned to occur with a significant readiness exercise at the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan.
The U.S. military indicated its cutting-edge capabilities to China as well as to regional partners by participating in the events with a total of 28 stealth fighter jets.