The United States Air Force deployed at least six F-22 Raptor fighters in Poland to support NATO’s reinforced deployment in eastern Europe.
The aircraft belong to the 90th Fighter Squadron of 3rd Wing, based in Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Six of them first transited through RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom. Their final destination is the 32nd Tactical Air Base in Łask, Poland, where they will support NATO’s Air Shielding mission as the 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.
U.S. Air Force sends six F-22 Raptors to Europe, bound for Poland, to support NATO’s air shield against Russian threats.— Daniel Andrey (@andrey_botea) July 27, 2022
“The NATO Air Shielding mission integrates Allied Air and Surface Based Air and Missile Defense units into the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence system under NATO Command and Control,” the United States Air Forces in Europe command said in a press release. “It will provide a near seamless shield from the Baltic to Black Seas, ensuring NATO Allies are better able to safeguard and protect Alliance territory, populations and forces from air and missile threat.”
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, which entered service in 2005, is the world’s first mass-produced fifth-generation fighter jet, as well as the first air superiority fighter to use stealth technology. “It cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft, making it a highly strategic platform to support NATO Air Shielding,” the USAF commented.
In the buildup to the war in Ukraine, NATO increased its air presence in eastern Europe by deploying additional fighters, observation aircraft, and bombers. Since February 2022, several USAF Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters have operated from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. They regularly conduct air patrols over eastern Europe and the Baltic Sea region.