Die US-Luftwaffe hat erstmals ihr modernstes Kampfflugzeug, die F-22 Raptor, nach Europa verlegt. Vier dieser Jäger landeten am (heutigen) Freitag auf der US-Luftwaffenbasis in Spangdahlem in der Eifel, wie die Air Force mitteilte:
Four F-22 Raptors, one C-17 Globemaster III, and approximately 60 Airmen arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to train with allied air forces and U.S. services through mid-September.
This first-ever F-22 training deployment to Europe is funded by the European Reassurance Initiative, and provides support to bolster the security of our NATO Allies and partners in Europe.
Die Verlegung der F-22 hatten die USA Anfang der Woche angekündigt und in einen eindeutigen Zusammenhang mit russischen Militäraktivitäten und der Ukraine-Krise gestellt. Aus der Pressekonferenz der Air Force-Staatssekretärin Deborah James am 24. August:
And indeed, Russia’s military activity in the Ukraine continues to be of great concern to us and to our European allies. And I think Secretary of Defense Carter put it quite well last week when he said that our approach to Russia needs to be strong and it needs to be balanced.
Now, rotational forces and training exercises help us maintain our strong and balanced approach, and we will certainly be continuing these in the future. For the Air Force, an F-22 deployment is certainly on the strong side of the coin, and so today, we are announcing that we will very soon deploy F-22s to Europe to support combatant commander requirements, and as part of the European reassurance initiative.
Airmen who are a part of this inaugural F-22 training deployment will train with our joint partners and our NATO allies across Europe as part of our continued effort to assure our allies and demonstrate our commitments to security and stability of Europe. But for operational security reasons, we cannot share with you the exact dates or the locations of this deployment.
In den Antworten auf Fragen in der Pressekonferenz wurden James und General Mark A. Welsh, der Stabschef der U.S. Air Force, noch ein bisschen deutlicher:
Q:First on the F-22, if it’s part of the European reassurance initiative, then straight up, is this not a message that the Air Force is delivering to Putin and the Russians? (…)
GEN. WELSH: Yes ma’am. I would tell you the F-22 deploying to Europe is just a continuation of deploying it everywhere we can to train with our partners. We’re going to be doing a training deployment, we’ll operate with a number of different air forces.
We’ll get the F-22 into facilities that we would potentially use in a conflict in Europe, things like the bases where we do aviation attachments, to places where we do air policing missions. They’ll train with some of our European partners. They’re there primarily for an exercise, training with our European partners.
So this is a natural evolution in bringing our best air-to-air capability in to train with partners who have been long and trusted ones.
Q: Could you tell us a bit on the F-22. You mentioned that it’s being fielded in response to requirements from commanders in the region. Can you talk about what those requirements are?
SEC. JAMES: Well, of course as part of the European Reassurance Initiative, we have stepped it up in a more substantial way with respect to rotational forces, training exercises and the like. So these sorts of deployments allow us to train and operate with our allies, get more experience in European terrain, and so this is in that vein. It will —
Q: Is there something specific to the F-22 that the commanders were seeking?
SEC. JAMES: It’s an air-to-air capability. You want to talk a little bit about the capability?
GEN. WELSH: Yes ma’am. We have allies in Europe who have advanced capabilities for — who — to the Eurofighter as just an example. We have aircraft with very advanced capabilities, and we need, and they would like for us to be able to interoperate in multiple-type scenarios. And so being able to train side-by-side with them and do that kind of training is really, really important to us, and that’s what this is for.
Q: And just to follow up on the F-22, can you describe what kind of targets, particularly Russian targets, that it would be used against if a potential conflict arises?
GEN. WELSH: No sir. (Laughter.) Any target that’s out there.
Die Verlegung war direkt nach der Ankündigung in Washington auf entschiedenen Protest Russlands gestoßen: US F-22 Deployment in Europe to Fuel West-Russia Confrontation?
Und hier noch die Grafik, die die Air Force zu diesem Ereignis veröffentlichte…
(Foto oben: NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — F-22 Raptors from the 90th Fighter Squadron Elmendorf Air Base, Alaska and the 49th Fighter Wing Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. fly to the Nevada Test and Training Range during Red Flag Feb. 4, 2010 – U.S Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor Worley;
Foto unten: Two Air Education Training (AET) F-22 Raptor from Tyndall Air Force Base, fly in trail behind a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 151st ARS McGhee Tyson ANG, TN after refueling during a training mission – U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Meneguin)