Justin Bullock, FISM News
As tensions between China and the US continue to rise, the Air Force is sending at least 25 F-22 Raptor fighter jets to the Pacific region. This move is part of Operation Pacific Iron 2021 which is meant to shore up the US presence throughout the Pacific. It is also a direct message to China that the US does not plan on ceding any ground in the Pacific region.
These F-22 jets are the newest fifth generation of this specific model. They are unrivaled by any aircraft in the world and boast the latest technology in weapons systems and stealth fighting. They also provide their pilots with minute detail regarding the battle space for miles around the jet. The F-22 is regarded as the first line of offense in aerial combat operations.
The US has approximately 180 fifth generation F-22s and this contingent being sent to the Pacific is more than the total amount known in the Chinese Air Force. According to intelligence reports China has at most 24 fifth generation fighter jets in their force. However, China has been observed to be slowly and steadily increasing the number of new fighter jets over the past decade as part of their efforts to upgrade their military capabilities in general. US military officials have indicated that signs are pointing to an increased pace of research and development in military technologies by the Chinese in recent years and months.
In addition to the contingent of F-22s, the Air Force is also sending ten F-15 Strike Eagle fighters and two C-130J Hercules transport planes. This large force will tour throughout the US bases in the Pacific and engage in practice exercises. The deployment is part of a strategy to ensure that US forces are not all grouped together in order to avoid large scale strikes from enemies, while also within enough range of each other to provide support in case of an actual conflict.
Overall, the deployment has multiple benefits and strategic advantages for the US. It will signal to China that the US is in the area to stay, deterring them from hostile action against smaller Pacific nations. It will also provide key strategic resources to US forces throughout the Pacific, and will serve as an excellent opportunity for American airmen and supporting soldiers to hone their training and skills in case of an actual conflict.