The United States will deploy F-22 fighter jets to Europe soon to support eastern European members of the NATO alliance.
The deployment scheduled to occur “very soon,” was described as part of the “European Reassurance Initiative”. It was “to support combatant commander requirements” in the region, US Air Force Secretary Deborah James was quoted as saying in Volice of America's report on Monday.
The first deployment of the Lockheed Martin Corp F-22 to Europe outside air shows is seen as a move to address the concerns among NATO allies about Russian military aggression.
"Russia's military activity in the Ukraine continues to be of great concern to us and to our European allies," James told a news conference at the Pentagon.
"For the Air Force, an F-22 deployment is certainly on the strong side of the coin." James said.
The F-22's inaugural training deployment in Europe would allow US forces to train with NATO partners across Europe, testing the ability of the jets to communicate and fight together with the Eurofighter, and other advanced warplanes, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh James said.
The deployment would give F-22 pilots more experience with the European terrain. The Air Force has previously deployed the jets in Japan and South Korea.
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine, all weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed for the United States Air Force (USAF).
The result of the USAF's Advanced Tactical Fighter program, the aircraft was designed basically as an air superiority fighter. However, it has other capabilities including ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles.