KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa --- Twelve U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning IIs and approximately 300 Airmen from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, arrived here for the aircraft’s first operational deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region Nov. 2.
This is the first time the F-35s have deployed as part of a planned U.S. Pacific Command Theater Security Package.
Two of the twelve aircraft, as well as many of the Airmen supporting the deployment, arrived Oct. 30 after participating in the Seoul Aerospace and Defense Exhibition 2017.
The deployment provides the region with the most advanced fifth-generation fighter, capable of a variety of operations including access to the global commons, active defense and power projection.
“The F-35A gives the joint warfighter unprecedented global precision attack capability against current and emerging threats while complementing our air superiority fleet,” said Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander. “The airframe is ideally suited to meet our command’s obligations, and we look forward to integrating it into our training and operations.”
The F-35s deployment offers unique opportunities to integrate various forces into joint, coalition and bilateral training across many different environments.
The TSP program – which began in 2004 – is designed to routinely showcase the continuous commitment of the United States to stability and security within the Indo-Asia-Pacific region by deploying aircraft, personnel and equipment that bolster existing U.S. forces.
Theater Security Package deployments are conducted on a rotational basis by Air Force fighter or bomber squadrons and can vary depending on mission and the combatant commander’s requirements.
Theater Security Package deployments enhance the strength of alliances without the need to build vast infrastructure.