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US Modernisation Plan for Tactical Aircraft Based in Japan

Library image of an F-15EX Eagle II Fighter Jet [US Air Force: William Lewis]

US Department of Defense announces modernisation plan for tactical aircraft based in Japan reflecting over $10 billion of capability investments


Press Release, Arlington VA, 03 July 2024: The Department of Defense (DoD), in close coordination with the Government of Japan, today announced a plan to upgrade US tactical aircraft laydown across multiple military installations in Japan.

The modernisation plan, which will be implemented over the next several years, reflects over $10 billion of capability investments to enhance the US-Japan Alliance, bolster regional deterrence, and strengthen peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The US Air Force will upgrade its presence at Kadena Air Base by deploying 36 F-15EX aircraft to replace 48 F-15C/D aircraft as part of a planned divestment and modernisation. The Joint Force will continue to maintain a rotational presence of 4th and 5th generation tactical aircraft at Kadena Air Base throughout this transition.

The US Air Force will also upgrade its presence at Misawa Air Base from 36 F-16 aircraft to 48 F-35A aircraft, leading to greater tactical aircraft capacity and capability.

At Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, the US Marine Corps will modify the number of F-35B aircraft to support the Service’s force design modernisation implementation. The US Marine Corps will continue to maintain an enduring and rotational aircraft presence at MCAS Iwakuni to ensure the necessary capabilities to support the defence of Japan.

The Department’s plan to station the Joint Force’s most advanced tactical aircraft in Japan demonstrates the ironclad US commitment to the defence of Japan and both countries’ shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.


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