Raptors not going to Okinawa after all

U.S. delays F-22 Raptor fighters arrival in Japan

The arrival of 12 U.S. F-22 fighter planes at a U.S. air base on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa was delayed on Sunday without word on a new date for their first deployment outside the United States.

The U.S. Air Force’s newest fighter planes had been scheduled to arrive at the weekend at the U.S. Kadena Air Base.

But a statement from the Air Force in Okinawa said the aircraft had turned back to Hawaii for operational reasons, without elaborating. They were still scheduled to be deployed.

“Operational reasons”? That could mean just about anything, really. Or be just a cover story. Critics will probably be quick to suggest that technical difficulties are to blame. Also, the six-way talks with North Korea are scheduled to end today and political concerns could very easily be to blame for the delay. Or maybe the F-22s have suddenly been called away to bomb Iran? I’m sure we’ll be hearing that one at some point.

Pic from DVIC. Click for larger version.