The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed F-22 Raptor aircraft to Europe to participate in an air training mission alongside other US Europe-based aircraft and Nato allies.
Raptors from the 1st Fighter Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia arrived at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath, UK, for a flying training deployment (FTD).
The FTD has been funded by the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), which improves the US deterrence posture in Europe by improving the readiness and responsiveness of the US forces.
EDI will provide close to $1bn in funding to the USAF for increased intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance processing; continued support of missions such as Nato air policing and theatre security packages; enhanced prepositioning of contingency air operations equipment; improvements to airfield infrastructure and prepositioning of air operations equipment and enablers in Nato ally countries.
USAF Europe-Air Forces Africa commander general Tod D. Wolters said: “The deployment of fifth-generation combat aircraft to the European area of responsibility (AOR) is a concrete example of how the US is engaged, postured and ready with a credible force to assure, deter and defend in an increasingly complex security environment.
“There is simply no substitute for our forward presence here in Europe.”
The latest deployment marks the third European deployment of Raptors.
Six F-22s and 150 airmen will participate in the RAF exercise Eastern Zephyr to conduct realistic training in a joint environment and bolster capabilities with Nato allies.
Additionally, airmen and F-22 aircraft have forward deployed from the UK to Germany and Poland to demonstrate their ability to quickly respond and reassure allies and partners.