The Washington Times is reporting that the US has deployed its advanced F-22 fighters to Okinawa.

GINOWAN, Japan - A deployment to Okinawa by the U.S. Air Force’s newest fighter jets presages plans to rapidly boost forces in the Pacific region in event of a crisis over North Korean nuclear weapons or a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

On Feb. 17, the first of a dozen F-22 Raptor fighter jets, manufactured by Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, completed a long-planned flight to the U.S. Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa from Langley Air Force Base in southeast Virginia. It was the first overseas deployment for the type since its 2005 entry into service.

The Raptors represent a sweeping modernization of U.S. forces in the Pacific, including new coastal warships, ballistic missile defenses, C-17 airlifters and wheeled armored vehicles for ground forces.

Over the next five years, the Air Force will permanently station three F-22 squadrons of about 20 jets apiece in the region: two in Alaska and one in Hawaii. Europe, once a bastion of U.S. air power, isn’t slated to receive any Raptors.