American and British media recently confirmed that the two F-15C/D Eagle fighter squadrons of the US military stationed in Japan, which are permanently deployed at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, are the 44th Fighter Squadron (FS) “Vampire” and the 67th Fighter Squadron “Fighting Cock”. “, it is determined that all will be withdrawn to the continental United States, and a “rotational fighter detachment” will be dispatched for temporary deployment in the future. As soon as this decision was made, the anti-China forces were greatly disappointed, accusing the US Air Force of “running away”.
(F15C of Fighting Cock Squadron)
The British “Financial Times” believes that the withdrawal of the two F15 fighter squadrons from the Okinawa base is inconsistent with the Biden administration’s aggressive stance on China. According to the information of the US military, the “Vampire” and “Cock Fighting” squadrons at the Okinawa base not only include all F15 fighters of the US military stationed in Japan, but also the only F15 troops of the US Air Force stationed abroad. The two are determined to withdraw to the mainland, so the US military’s fixed overseas deployment of fighter jets will only be single-engine models, such as F16 and F35 fighter jets.
According to US Air Force analysts, although the F15 is not a fifth-generation stealth fighter, the role of such a heavy-duty twin-engine fighter is irreplaceable. In particular, it has a strong high-speed interception capability. Once the People’s Liberation Army dispatches H-6 bombers, carrying long-range cruise missiles, to attack the US military base in Japan, or a large group to raid Taiwan Island, then the F15 can conduct high-speed interception.
The United States has always threatened the mainland with force. After Biden came to power, he has said many times that if there is a conflict in the Taiwan Strait, the US military will “intervene by force”. Although the White House came out to smooth things out for him afterwards, military researchers all over the world know that in the Taiwan Strait war, the presence of the U.S. military cannot be ignored. When we discuss the solution by force, we always take the direct intervention of the US military as an important premise. In the United States, there are also quite a number of strategic and political researchers who advocate that the US government should make it clear that it will use force to stop the reunification process of the mainland.
If the US military really takes action in the Taiwan Strait War, then the two F15 squadrons stationed in Okinawa will definitely be the first to go into battle. In this case, it is somewhat puzzling that the U.S. military withdraws them to the mainland and does not arrange for other permanent troops to replace them.
According to Admiral Kenneth Wellsbach, commander of the US Pacific Air Forces, after these F15s are withdrawn to China, they will be replaced by newly purchased F15EXs. The U.S. Air Force describes the F15EX as an epoch-making new fighter jet, but anyone who knows Air Force technology knows that this aircraft is largely the result of insider trading. It can carry more than 20 air-to-air missiles and looks as imposing as a missile truck. But so many missiles hang under the wings, seriously dragging down the F15’s flight performance. There is no air combat capability at all. Its function is more like the special interceptor developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It uses a high-power radar to detect the opponent’s bomber at a long distance, and then shoots all the missiles out, even if the mission is completed.
However, the service of the PLA J-20 fifth-generation stealth fighter has changed the existing air pattern in the Western Pacific. The US media emphasized that even if the F15EX can really enter the Okinawa base, it will not face an isolated bomber group, but a PLA strike group under the escort of the J-20. The F15 has not yet discovered the PLA bombers, and will be shot down by the J-20 like a turkey.
(F22’s combat readiness rate is very poor)
What’s more, according to the current plan of the US Air Force, even the F15EX will not be sent to Okinawa. The U.S. Air Force originally wanted to buy 140 F15EXs, but because the performance of this model did not reach the effect that Boeing boasted, plus the headcount cost eating up too much military expenditure, and the impact of inflation, the purchase volume of F15EX has now been From 140 to 80, almost two and a half squadrons were reduced. Considering that the Ukrainian war is still going on and the situation in Europe continues to be tense, the US military is afraid that there is no F15EX that can be stationed in Okinawa.
This situation must have caused dissatisfaction among a large number of anti-China elements. In their view, the Taiwan Strait war may break out at any time, and the US military has not only withdrawn its main fighter jets, but even has no replacement plan. Although the U.S. Air Force has stated that it intends to use overseas rotating troops to station in Okinawa on a regular basis, it is still a big problem what kind of model to send.
(80 F15EX will be purchased)
From the perspective of the US Air Force, the F22 fighter is of course the most ideal. However, the proper rate of the F22 fleet is less than 50% today, and some US media said that there may only be more than 30 aircraft that can actually take off for combat. Although the situation in the East China Sea is tense, after all, there has not been an actual armed conflict, and the US military is not willing to send the few remaining F22s to Okinawa.
Of course, the U.S. military can also send F35s to Okinawa, but this faces two problems. The first is that the F35 is not necessarily better than the J-20. In 2022, China and the United States have separately confirmed that the combination of the J-20 and the Air Police 500 can detect and drive away the F35. Secondly, the Okinawa base is not far from mainland China. The PLA rocket military short-range ballistic missiles can cover the two air bases of Futenma and Kadena. No matter how many F35 squadrons are deployed here, they will be completely reimbursed. In the latest assessment of the US Air Force, it is believed that the balance of power in the western space has changed into the mainstream view.
Therefore, we can see that the US military withdrew the two F15 squadrons, not because they did not want to interfere in the Taiwan Strait, but because they had no choice. Even if they forcibly stay in Okinawa, they are just decorations.