Posted By Nakroth SA. Posted On

China ask Help Russia(Aug 30) US, Japan, Australia & S. Korea send Large number F-35 to Indo-Pacific

The U.S. Air Force has operated fifth-generation aircraft for nearly two decades, but has yet to station any of its most advanced aircraft in the Indo-Pacific, the Department of Defense’s priority theater. Adm. John Aquilino, the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, wants to see that change, calling fifth-generation capabilities “critically important to the ability to deliver deterrence.”

It’s time for the U.S. Air Force to send fifth-generation aircraft forward to bolster deterrence in the Indo-Pacific, expand opportunities for allied cooperation, enhance the combat credibility of U.S. forces, and accelerate implementation of the Agile Combat Employment, or ACE, scheme of maneuver.

Today, the Air Force stations exclusively fourth-generation fighters (F-16s, F-15s, and A-10s) at six bases west of the international date line — three in Japan, two in South Korea, and one in Guam. The closest fifth-generation aircraft are stationed in Alaska and Hawaii, east of the international date line and thousands of miles away from key terrain in the first island chain.

By contrast, the Air Force selected RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom as the first F-35A base in Europe back in 2015. Evidently, the Indo-Pacific doesn’t just trail Europe as a posture priority. In addition to the active component, the Air Force has stationed F-35As at no less than three Air National Guard bases and one Air Force Reserve base in the continental United States. A fourth Guard base will begin receiving F-35As in 2024 with several others under consideration to receive the aircraft.

The Air Force holding back its most capable platforms from the Indo-Pacific stands in contrast to other military services. For example, despite having far fewer F-35s than the Air Force, the Marine Corps’ first forward operational F-35B squadron arrive

Forward-stationed F-35As would enhance the combat credibility of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific. The aircraft’s advanced sensors and weapons would provide a capability upgrade over Block 50 F-16s currently stationed at Misawa. Persistent presence in Japan would accelerate fifth-generation crisis response and reduce reliance on scarce tanking resources to gain theater access.

The Air Force continues to preach the value of the F-35 and that of forward presence. It can demonstrate both by stationing at F-35As at Misawa as soon as possible.