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U.S. F-15 Fighters Patrolling Airspace Near Taiwan with Live Ammunition

Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) recently reported, based on a Global Times social media posting, that the U.S. military stationed in Japan dispatched several F-15C fighter jets carrying live air-to-air missiles to conduct combat air patrols in the airspace near Taiwan. Mainland China announced very recently that it would allow the Chinese J-20 stealth fighters to conduct normal combat patrols in the East China Sea. That led the United States to decide to show its muscles and send a military signal to China. Taiwanese media reported that eye witnesses provided pictures showing the F-15C fighter jets of the U.S. Air Force had flown back to Kadena Air Force Base in Japan carrying AIM-120C advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles and AIM- 9 live rounds of Sidewinder missiles. An unnamed source confirmed that the F-15C fighter group, supported by two KC-135 aerial tankers, returned to the Kadena Base after a seven-hour mission. The purpose was to carry out a combat air patrol mission in the airspace near Taiwan. This was the response after six U.S. congressmen visited Taiwan on April 14th and China later announced military exercises. U.S. fighter jets carry live ammunition only when they conduct quick response alerts or actual combat missions. This recent move was rather unusual. Afterwards, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Defense responded by emphasizing that, when defending national sovereignty and security, the People’s Liberation Army has always been brave and good at “showing the sword.”

Source: Sina, April 22, 2022