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Futenma replacement base will be obsolete before it’s finished

13 5 1
03.12.2021

While technology and delivery methods continue to evolve, military air bases remain the most crucial platforms for the projection of air power.

Yet they are expensive to build, operate and maintain. Because of their strategic importance and high costs, they ought to be designed and built to provide the most efficient and flexible use for the widest variety of air platforms. Moreover, these bases should be designed to support joint strategic needs rather than special purpose, service specific uses.

The capability to support joint service, allied and coalition operations is vital: All allied or coalition aircraft should have the ability to use any air base at any time. Because Northeast Asia has become a contested environment due to the rise of China as an aspiring regional hegemon, and because air bases are alluring targets vulnerable to enemy attack (by missiles or other means), any such base in this region that is not multicapable and adaptive to support distributed air operations will be obsolete.

That is the fundamental problem with the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF), first announced 25 years ago on Dec. 2, 1996. The FRF was not designed and is not being constructed to meet the regional strategic needs of the emerging great-power competition. In other words, it will be obsolete before construction is even finished.

The FRF design was so politically constrained to mitigate local opposition to its construction that those design constraints will severely limit its operational use and flexibility to meet regional power projection needs. Ironically, those self-imposed constraints on its design have done little to reduce local opposition.

The Special Action........

© The Japan Times


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