Planned relocations of US and Japanese forces on the island remain on track, says the top US commander there. Air Force Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, commander of US Forces Japan, tells Stars & Stripes that Japan’s Air Defense headquarters are on schedule to move to Yokota Air Base by 2010. Wright also says the bilateral relationship is strengthening, citing Japan’s decision to continue host-nation financial support “at a relatively healthy level” and recent exercises that are fostering closer cooperation. The three-star, who also serves as commander of 5th Air Force, will retire next month after three years in this post. Lt. Gen. Edward Rice, who is currently Pacific Air Forces vice commander at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, will replace him.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.