By Brad Lendon,CNN
The U.S. Air Force has sent more than two dozen F-22 fighter jets to the Pacific for training this month, a move analysts say is a message to China.
The Pacific Air Force said this week that approximately 25 F-22 fighter jets from the Hawaii National Air Guard and the Elmendorf-Richardson Joint Base, Alaska, will be positioned this month on the islands of Guam and Tinian.
“We have never had so many fighter jets training together in the Pacific Air Force operations area,” General Ken Wilsbach, commander of the Pacific Air Force, told CNN.
The F-22s are fifth-generation fighter jets, the world’s most advanced fighter jets, incorporating advanced technologies that link on-board censorship systems to off-board information systems to give their pilots a clear view of the spacecraft. battle.
U.S. F-35 fighter jets are another example.
The positioning of a large number of F-22 fighter jets is a message to China at a time when relations are strained over issues such as Taiwan and the South China Sea, said Carl Schuster, an analyst.
The Chinese Air Force has about 20 to 24 fifth-generation fighter jets, Schuster said, but he noted that Beijing’s capabilities are improving at a rapid pace. The U.S. Air Force owns about 180 F-22 aircraft in its fleet, though only about half used them for missions, according to Air Force statistics. So the US will send about 25% of F-22 aircraft to Pacific drills.
Because of their ability to evade radar detection, the F-22 is expected to be among the main weapons in any potential conflict.
“The United States is practicing fighter jet positioning in the event of a conflict or war.
For Operation Pacific Iron, 10 F-15 Strike Eagle fighter jets from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho and two C-130J Hercules transport aircraft from Yokota Air Base in Japan will join F-22 fighter jets in their mission .
For example, much of the U.S. Air Force in the Western Pacific is positioned at major military bases such as Kadena Air Base in Okinawa or Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
An attack on those bases could damage the US military’s ability to strike an adversary. China’s Liberation Army “possesses an increasing number of long-range precision-guided missiles and ballistic missiles that could threaten key targets at air bases,” according to a US report.
“Demonstrating the US Air Force’s Agile Combat capability sends a strong signal to China,” Schuster said.
“China will try to monitor the situation closely,” he said.
Layton, the Australian analyst, said the use of F-22 fighter jets represents the U.S. Air Force. “The F-22 is one of the most difficult aircraft for this type of training in terms of mission and maintenance.
Wilsbach, commander of the Pacific Air Force, called the operation “one of the most complex ever organized.”
The Air Force used the Northwest Guam area to practice Agile Combat Employment operations in February, using F-35 and F-16 fighter jets. Sergeant Todd Johnson, who attended the February drill, used a sports analogy to describe the concept.
“If you have a well-trained and organized team, then an aircraft will be able to land, refuel and be ready to take to the skies in just a few minutes,” he said in a press release. Air Force training in the Pacific.