F-22A Raptors assigned to the 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, arrived on Nov. 4. to Kadena Air Base, Japan, in preparation of the phased withdrawal of Kadena’s fleet of F-15C/D Eagles. These aircraft will work in conjunction with local Kadena-based assets to maintain steady-state fighter capabilities and enhance U.S. operational readiness to defend Japan while ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.
As part of its modernization plan, the United States Air Force is retiring the aging fleet of F-15 C/D Eagle aircraft that has been in service for more than 30 years. The Department of Defense will continue to maintain a steady-state presence at Kadena by temporarily deploying newer and more advanced aircraft to backfill the F-15s as they retrograde to the United States.
The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is an American twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft designed by McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing). The Eagle first flew in July 1972, and entered service in 1976. It is among the most successful modern fighters, with over 100 victories and no losses in aerial combat, with the majority of the kills by the Israeli Air Force.
For decades, Kadena Air Base has served as the keystone of the Pacific. The base’s strategic position makes it a vital staging location for forces to deter regional adversaries and project U.S. airpower throughout the Indo-Pacific. The transition to more capable aircraft at Kadena exemplifies DOD’s continued commitment to enhancing PACAF’s posture while building on the strong foundation of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.