The United States Air Force (USAF) has dispatched 14 Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fifth-generation stealth air superiority fighter jets from Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa for a four-week rotational deployment ahead of the upcoming summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore.
The deployment is seen as a way to exert pressure on Pyongyang over its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs as the North Korean leadership considers fifth-generations stealth fighter jets as “strategic assets” capable of launching strikes against targets inside North Korea in the event of a conflict. The F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine, stealth air-superiority fighter with ground-attack capabilities.
The last rotational deployment of F-22 stealth fighter jets to Okinawa took place more than three years ago in 2014. In December 2017, six F-22s participated in Vigilant ACE (Air Component Exercise), a bilateral combined air force exercise involving the USAF and Republic of Korea Air Force.
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