The U.S. has a massive military presence in what it calls the Indo-Pacific region. We often see that thanks to the photos the various branches release of their forces in action there. And one of the most recent pics showing America’s Pacific exploits is this one here.
Lined up on the runway of the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan, dozens of fighter planes look like they’re sitting on parallel assembly lines, ready to be spat out from a factory in times of war. But this is just an elephant walk, performed as part of a pre-planned readiness exercise held at the said base back in July.
Although, at first glance, you may be fooled you’re looking at a collection of fifth-generation aircraft, the reality is a bit more complex. Sure, the first lines of this formation are occupied by eight U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) F-35 Lightnings, ten U.S. Air Force (USAF) ones, and ten F-22 Raptors, but we also get further back F/A-18 Hornets (five of them, deployed with the USMC), and a KC-130J Super Hercules way at the back of the formation.
This drill comprised units of the USAF 354th Air Expeditionary Wing and Marine Aircraft Group 12, and was meant to show the world in general (and China in particular, of course), that America can easily deploy joint forces against potential threats.