(PresidentialHill.com)- In early August, US Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jets arrived at the 32nd Tactical Air Base in Lask, Poland as part of NATO’s efforts to boost its defenses in Eastern Europe.
According to Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, the state-of-the-art fighter jets are part of NATO’s “Air Shielding” mission along the alliance’s eastern flank. The Defense Ministry reported that American F-22 crews will be training alongside Polish pilots.
In late July, NATO Air Command announced that the F-22 Raptors from the 90th Fighter Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska had arrived in the UK on their way to Poland as part of NATO’s Air Shielding mission to enhance “interoperability and cohesion among Allied nations.”
The deployment is intended to boost NATO’s “deterrence by reinforcement” strategy developed during the NATO summit in Madrid in June.
In an August 9 press release, Gen. James Hecker, commander of the US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, said the deployment of F-22s “will add significant capabilities to our support of NATO’s collective defense.”
The F-22 Raptor has a 22 mm cannon and can be armed with six AIM-120 radar-guided and two AIM-9 infrared air-to-air missiles. The fighter jet can also be configured for air-to-ground combat with two 1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions. According to Gen. Hecker, this ability to perform air-to-air and ground-to-air missions will “exponentially increase the warfighting capability along the eastern flank.”
The US Air Force has said that the F-22 Raptor “cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft.”
According to 19FortyFive.com’s Defense and National Security editor, Brent Eastwood, in addition to the deployment of F-22 Raptors, the Biden administration announced in late June that the US Army V Corps headquarters will maintain a permanent presence in Poland as well.
The US currently has about 10,000 troops in Poland as well as two Patriot missile defenders and F-16 fighter jets.