TOKYO, -- Japan announced Tuesday that it will double its F-15J fighter squadron in Okinawa prefecture in response to an increased presence of Chinese aircraft in the area. The deployment, which was announced by Japan's Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), will be completed by February when the Naha Air Base will have 40 F-15J jets, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.
Japan to double F 15J squadron in Okinawa amid tensions with China 640 001A JASDF Mitsubishi F-15J fighter aircraft
The decision follows an increased number of "scrambles", or emergency takeoffs, from Naha in 2015, which came largely in response to approaching Chinese aircraft.
Last year alone, 441 JASDF jets were scrambled from Naha, which is more than double the number of scrambles in 2011.
The plan to boost the squadron is the latest effort of JASDF to strengthen Japan's defense of the disputed Senkaku islands, or Diaoyu islands as they are known in China.
In 2013, China established an air defense identification zone in the area, which overlaps with that of Japan.
The Mitsubishi F-15J/DJ Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather air superiority fighter based on the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. The Japan Air Self Defense Force had 201 F-15J/DJs in use as of 2015.
The Japan Air Self Defense Force had 201 F-15J Eagles taxi toward the runway before taking off on a combat training mission.