Chinese officials have been accusing Washington of “demonising” Beijing and portraying it as an “imagined enemy”.
The United States Air Force is sending some 25 F-22 stealth fighter jets to the western Pacific for an exercise this month, with analysts calling the deployment an attempt to send an immediate message to China amid tensions in the region, according to CNN.
The Raptors, deployed from the Hawaii Air National Guard and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, will make their way to the islands of Guam and Tinian as a part of the Operation Pacific Iron 2021 exercise. The fifth-generation combat planes are believed to be the world’s most sophisticated fighter aircraft due to their ability to evade radar detection and incorporate on-board and off-board information systems. According to the US Indo-Pacific Command, the training is set to make the US regional forces “more lethal, adaptive and resilient”.
Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Ken Wilsbach told CNN that the US has “never had this many Raptors deployed together in the Pacific Air Forces area of operations”.
‘Deterrent Signal to China’
The US currently has around 180 F-22s in its fleet overall, with nearly half of them ready for deployment, according to Air Force statistics. China, meanwhile, has only about 20 to 24 operational fifth-generation fighters, Hawaii-based defence analyst Carl Schuster earlier told CNN. So the deployment of some 25% of America’s mission-capable F-22s to the…