When I was in Okinawa talking to the F-22 Raptor jockeys deployed for their first overseas exercise, they giggled at my proposal that they tangle with the nearby Japanese Air Self Defense Force F-4 squadron for practice. Well, guess what? According to Air Force Times, that very encounter has just occured:
Two F-22As and two F-15s of the U.S. Air Force, and four F-4s and four F-15s of the ASDF took part in Friday’s drill. After taking off from the Kadena and Naha bases, the fighters engaged in dogfight exercises, the officials said. Lt. Col. Wade Tolliver, commander of the 27th Fighter Squadron, told a press conference after the drill that the joint exercises with the F-22s, along with other U.S. fighters, must have brought great merit to the ASDF and helped deepen the two sides’ mutual understanding.
Supercruising F-22s versus 1950s-era F-4s? No wonder Tolliver lavished such public praise on the poor Nipponese aviators. They probably needed some coddling after the drubbing they (surely) got from the 27th Fighter Squadron. Check out my video of F-22s in Okinawa.