Russia, get ready.
The United States Air Force’s elite 27th Fighter Squadron—part of the 1st Fighter Wing—has deployed to Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, with a detachment of Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors.
The stealthy fifth-generation fighters—which can cruise supersonically without using fuel-guzzling afterburners—are in Europe to train with locally based U.S. units and allied air forces as part of the Pentagon’s European Deterrence Initiative. The idea is reassure NATO allies and deter any potential Russian adventurism in Eastern Europe.
“While in the European theater, the F-22s will also forward deploy from the United Kingdom to other NATO bases to maximize training opportunities, demonstrate our steadfast commitment to NATO allies and deter any actions that destabilize regional security,” the U.S. Air Force said in a statement.
Indeed, on October 13, a pair of Raptors arrived in Spangdahlem Air Force Base in Germany to train with U.S and German forces. The idea is to not only familiarize the F-22 crews with the intricacies of the European theatre, but also to make sure that allied air forces such as the German Luftwaffe and the French Armée de l’Air understand the Raptor’s capabilities and are able to work alongside their American colleagues flying fifth-generation fighters.