The Air Force is preparing to move a special operations squadron of 10 CV-22 Ospreys to a base in Japan, where they will be on the frontlines of the United States’ mounting standoff with China and North Korea.

The first three tilt-rotor aircraft are expected to arrive at Yokota Air Base, just west of Tokyo, in the second half of 2017, with another seven arriving by 2021, according to officials at the Pentagon.

Flown by Air Force Special Operations Command, the Ospreys will provide increased capability for special operators to respond to crises in or near Japan. The Air Force also uses Ospreys for combat search-and-rescue missions and to respond to natural disasters.

In addition, the Osprey squadron will “increase interoperability” and strengthen relationships with the Japan Self-Defense Forces, the department said in a statement.