Air Force F-22A Raptor parked on the flightline at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base,
, April 25, 2016.
The United States
has deployed two F-22 Raptor 5G stealth fighter jets and a refueling aircraft to an airfield in Romania as part of NATO’s support for Eastern European members against the “Russian aggression.”
The US Air Force most sophisticated aircraft landed at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base on the Black Sea, located less than 400 km from the Russian military
stronghold of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula.
“For the first time in Romania, the next-generation combat aircraft F-22 Raptor, part of the US Air Force Europe
mission, arrived today at Mihail Kogalniceanu military base,” the US Embassy said on its Facebook page Monday.
The two F-22 Raptor fighters accompanied by a KC-135 refueling plane arrived in Romania from the UK, where Washington has already deployed 12 F-22s at Lakenheath, a British air base in eastern England.
According to officials, the move is meant to “bolster the security of NATO allies and partners in Europe.”
“Today, I would like to highlight this deployment as a demonstration of our promise to support Romania and the rest of our NATO allies,” Lieutenant General Timothy Ray, 3rd Air Force commander, said during a press conference Monday. “Romania is one of our strongest allies.”
“These aircraft have the ability to project air dominance quickly, at great distances, to defeat any possible threat,” added Ray.
The deployment comes as US commanders are re-evaluating the military’s role and responsibilities in Europe with Russia
’s resurgence prompting Washington to rethink the number of troops in Europe in order to counter what Washington regards as possible threat by Moscow.
“It’s important we test our infrastructure, aircraft capabilities, and the talented Airmen and allies who will host these aircraft in Europe,” said General Frank Gorenc, US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. “This deployment advances our air power evolution and demonstrates our resolve and commitment to European safety and security.”
The United States
and its European allies accuse Moscow of destabilizing Ukraine. Moscow, however, rejects having a hand in the crisis.