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USMC to station F-35s at Kadena next year

Sunday’s Okinawa Times led with the disclosure by several USMC sources that as many as 26 F-35Bs may be deployed at Kadena AB, noting the plan, if implemented, is bound to increase the base burden on Okinawa on account of the stealth aircraft’s large noise. In a Marine document “Integrated Natural Resources, Cultural Resources Management Plans” that was drafted in September 2014, there is a statement saying: “The Marine Corps would deploy up to 26 F-35B aircraft to Marine Wing Liaison Kadena (MWLK) at any one time.” The same document went on to say: “These aircraft would fly in existing military airspace around Okinawa, train at the Ie Shima Training Facility, operate occasionally at MCAS Futenma, and use MCB Camp Butler facilities.” The daily asserted that the USMC is set to operate the state-of-the-art fighters in Okinawa, including at such facilities as Kadena, Futenma, the Northern Training Area, and Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield, in accordance with a new unit deployment program, with the sources reportedly projecting that the F-35Bs will begin training in the island prefecture by March next year. 


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