US Air Force Retiring Japan-Based F-15 Fleet
The US Air Force is retiring two squadrons of F-15C/D Eagle fighters stationed at Kadena Air Base in Japan as part of a modernization plan.
Forty-eight Eagles of the 18th Wing’s 44th Fighter Squadron and the 67th Fighter Squadron will undergo a phased withdrawal over two years beginning November 1.
Replacement With More Advanced Fighters
The aircraft will be temporarily replaced with newer and more advanced fighters, as a permanent replacement has not yet been decided.
“While the DoD has not made a decision on the long-term solution, all of the proposals under consideration include advanced capabilities that are superior to the F-15 C/D,” a service statement read.
“Until that decision is made, the DoD will continue to use the Global Force Management process to provide backfill solutions that maintain regional deterrence and bolster our ability to uphold our treaty obligations to Japan.”
F-22 Being Considered
Citing a Japanese ministry of defense spokesperson, Stars and Stripes reported that the 40-year-old McDonnell Douglas F-15s will be replaced one-to-one with F-22 Raptors for six months, with a possible greater deployment thereafter.
The service has been operating the aircraft from Okinawa since 1979. The base is the air force’s closest land-based location to Taiwan, some 450 miles (724 kilometers) away.
F-15 Fleet to Be Halved in Two Years
The F-22 was initially expected to replace the F-15 starting in the mid-2000s. However, the Raptor’s manufacturing halt in 2010 at less than half of its planned production pushed the Eagle’s service into its fifth decade.
A total of 480 Eagles have been built so far, out of which 230 single-seat C variants and the double-seat D were operational in three active forces and six Air National Guard squadrons.
The service is planning to retire 61 F-15Cs in 2023.