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US Air Force to Launch Operation Pacific Iron 2021 in July, Including a Large Fleet of F-22 Raptors

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Operation Pacific Iron 2021 is scheduled to take place within the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility in July to showcase the U.S. air force’s strategic flexibility, according to Pacific Air Forces. The announcement comes as U.S.-China tensions continue to simmer over the issues of Taiwan and the South China Sea. The exercise involves more than 35 aircraft and approximately 800 Airmen from Pacific Air Forces and Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces reported on July 13. Notably, 25 F-22 raptors—a seemingly unprecedented number of its kind to deploy to the West Pacific—will join the drill from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. U.S. Air Force Capt. Veronica S. Perez, chief of Engagements Division, Public Affairs of Pacific Air Forces, told The Epoch Times that the purpose of the operation is “to conduct simulated combat-related dispersal operations to develop tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), for real-world …flight

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