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US F-22 Raptor fighter jets arrive in Poland to help secure skies: defence minister

11.04.2023 14:30
An unspecified number of US F-22 Raptor fighter jets have arrived in Poland to help secure the skies over NATO’s eastern flank, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak confirmed on Tuesday.
An F-22 Raptor fighter jet.
An F-22 Raptor fighter jet.Photo: PAP/Roman Zawistowski

The Polish defence ministry said in a tweet: "US F-22 Raptor fighter jets have landed in Poland."

It added that "one of the world's most modern aircraft will work alongside Polish pilots" to provide continued "support on NATO's eastern flank."

The US Air Force said in a statement last week that "F-22 Raptors assigned to the 94th Fighter Squadron at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia" were expected to provide "deterrence operations" at Powidz Air Base in western Poland "as part of a scheduled aircraft rotation" in support of the United States' "forward fighter presence" along NATO’s eastern flank.

The Polish air base offers US forces the infrastructure and opportunity to operate closer to allies and partners "supporting a range of missions along the eastern flank and through the Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions," according to the statement.

"The close cooperation between coalition forces enhances interoperability and collaboration," the US Air Force said.

It described the F-22 Raptor as "a combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability," which it said "represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities."

The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, according to the US Air Force.

F-22s were previously stationed in Poland last year as part of NATO's air presence on the eastern flank amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Polish Deputy Defence Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz said in August last year that NATO was boosting its air presence in eastern Europe in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Skurkiewicz said at the time that both Raptors and other fighter jets were "sending a clear message that the eastern flank is key for NATO and that the alliance will defend the region just as it is committed to defending the independence of each of its member countries.”

Tuesday is day 412 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAPusafe.af.mil