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US Air Force will send F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft in Europe to reassure Allies

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World Aviation Defense & Security News - United States
 
 
 
US Air Force will send F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft in Europe to reassure Allies
 
The United States soon will deploy F-22 Raptors in Europe, sending the stealth fighter jets to reassure NATO partners concerned about Russia's actions in Ukraine, a Pentagon official has said. US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James did not offer specifics about where or when the single-seat jets would be deployed, citing operational security reasons. James also would not say how many of the planes would be deployed.
     
The United States soon will deploy F-22 Raptors in Europe, sending the stealth fighter jets to reassure NATO partners concerned about Russia's actions in Ukraine, a Pentagon official has said. US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James did not offer specifics about where or when the single-seat jets would be deployed, citing operational security reasons. James also would not say how many of the planes would be deployed. US Air Force F-22 Raptor multirole fighter aircraft
     
The deployment comes at the request of commanders in the region, she said yesterday, adding that F-22 pilots will train with NATO partners.

At a Pentagon news conference with James, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said the deployment would allow the F-22 pilots to interact and train jointly with the Eurofighter Typhoons which have been flying air patrols over the Baltic states.

"We have allies in Europe that have advanced capabilities," Welsh said. "We need and they would like for us to be able to inter-operate in multiple-type scenarios, and so being able to train side-by-side with them and do that training is really important."

The Lockheed Martin-made F-22s will be participating in Operation Atlantic Resolve, the effort by the U.S. to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's commitment "in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine."

The F-22 was designed for air-to-air combat - attacking other warplanes - but also is capable of ground attacks.

The US Air Force has about 180 F-22s, which became operational in 2005. They have been used in US-led coalition strikes on the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

James said sending the F-22s to Europe is only part of what the Pentagon is doing to reassure allies.

"I think Secretary of Defense Carter put it quite well last week when he said that our approach to Russia needs to be strong and it needs to be balanced," James said.

The U.S. military has been rotating various units through Europe for training and exercises this year. Air Force F-15s, F-16s and A-10s have been part of those rotations.

Meanwhile, the Army and Marines have sent tanks and armor to the continent. And on Monday, 400 U.S. and allied paratroopers staged parachute assaults on two airfields in Bulgaria as part of Exercise Swift Response 15, which the Army calls "the largest U.S.-led airborne exercise in Europe since the end of the Cold War." The total exercise involves 4,500 airborne troops from 11 NATO nations.