USAF F-22 Raptor fighters deploy to Belgium for joint training with BAF

F-22 Raptor aircraft arrived at Kleine Brogel Air Base, Belgium today from RAF Lakenheath, England, to conduct local training with the Belgian air force, the US Air Force said in an official statement.

USAF F 22 Raptor fighters deploy to Belgium for joint training with BAF 001 An F-22 Raptor taxis on arrival at Kleine Brogel Air Base, Belgium, Oct. 17, 2018
(Credit: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joshua Dewberry)

The F-22s are deployed from the 27th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. and arrived in Europe on Oct. 5.

Prior to arrival, the Raptors conducted dissimilar aircraft combat training with Belgian F-16s in nearby aerial training areas.

We appreciate our close cooperation with Belgium in the training of fighter aircraft to ensure the security of Europe. The presence of F-22 aircraft underscores our commitment to the collective defense of the NATO alliance and our willingness to use our most technically advanced assets to deter any potential threats and increase regional security,” the USAF said.

Six F-22 Raptor fighter jets, from the 27th Fighter Squadron and 94th Fighter Squadron have deployed to RAF Lakenheath on Oct. 8. An unknown number of them were supposed to remain in UK and to be involved in a Flying Training Deployment with other US aircraft based in Europe and NATO Allies.

"While in the European theater, the F-22s will also forward deploy from the U.K. to other NATO bases to maximize training opportunities, demonstrate our steadfast commitment to NATO Allies and deter any actions that destabilize regional security. This FTD is fully funded by the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI)," the USAF then explained.

The last time U.S. F-22s deployed to Europe was in Spring 2016.