US Air Force (USAF) F-22s have deployed to Amari Air Base in Estonia, joining Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoons already deployed to the country as they support Nato Allied Air Command’s Air Shielding mission to deter aggression in the Baltic Sea region on 8 May.
The USAF F-22 fighters joined RAF Typhoon jets that recently returned to Estonia to police the airspace of Nato’s eastern border with a backdrop of conflict in Ukraine as part of Operation Azotize, which began in March.
The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are situated on a critical air, land, and sea corridor, which requires a coordinated approach from Nato to sustain international freedom of manoeuvre.
The F-22 is a highly manoeuvrable stealth aircraft, with supersonic dual-engines. As a highly manoeuvrable stealth aircraft, the F-22 is designed to rapidly project dominance, penetrate evolving threats, and achieve air superiority.
The Typhoon is a delta-wing, beyond-visual-range, close air fighter aircraft with surface attack capability. The Typhoon’s ‘supercruise’ capability enables high-speed flight at sustained speeds of over Mach 1 without the use of afterburner.
The F-22’s join Estonia following their previous deployment to Poland. In early April, Joint Base Langley-Eustice’s 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed 12 F-22s to Poland’s Powidz Air Base to augment Nato’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence and Counter-Integrated Air Defence System.
The enhanced posture was to deter potential air and missile threat and protect Allied territory and populations.
For the RAF, this is the second deployment of Typhoons to eastern Europe since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian last year. The RAF deployed to Romania for Operation Biloxi in March 2022 to cover the southern portion of Nato’s east border.