INDOPACOM Boss Wants the Air Force to Base Fifth-Gen Fighters Closer to China

June 27, 2022

Air Force Magazine:

U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii.

In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.

INDOPACOM’s commander Adm. John C. Aquilino also stressed the strategic importance of the island of Guam during an event hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on June 24.

The Marine Corps has stationed F-35Bs at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and the Navy has moved aircraft carriers with F-35Cs into the Indo-Pacific. Japan, South Korea, and Australia all operate F-35s as well. But the Air Force thus far has kept its fifth-gen fighters east of the international date line, thousands of miles away. Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, has Pacific Air Forces’ only F-35s, and both Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson, Alaska, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, have F-22s.

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