25 November 2022
by Akhil Kadidal
The withdrawal from Okinawa of two USAF squadrons equipped with F-15C Eagles has alarmed US Republican lawmakers who said the move could embolden a militarily resurgent China. (US Air Force photo/Staff Sgt Kyle Johnson)
The withdrawal of two squadrons of US Air Force (USAF) Boeing F-15C fighter jets from Okinawa has prompted concerns of a decline in US force capability in the Indo-Pacific region.
The US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) announced the withdrawal in a statement on 28 October. “Starting in November  the Department of Defense will commence a phased withdrawal of F-15 C/D aircraft forward-deployed to Kadena Air Base over the next two years,” the PACAF said.
In their place, the US government has announced a plan to deploy more modern combat aircraft, albeit on a rotational basis. US lawmakers said on 1 November that the F-15C/Ds are “to be replaced initially by fifth-generation [Lockheed Martin] F-22 Raptors in six-month rotations from Alaska”.
The PACAF told Janes that the move to retire the F-15 C/D Eagle fleet has been prompted by “an increasingly severe security environment” around Japan.