American F-22 Fighter Jets Deployed to Middle East as Russian Aircraft Activity Intensifies

In the middle of June, the US deployed F-22 fighter jets as a part of a  “multifaceted show of U.S. support and capability” as Russian aircraft have engaged in “increasingly unsafe and unprofessional behavior” across the region.

United States Central Command (CENTCOM) announced in a June 14, 2023 press release that the F-22 Raptors are from the 94th Fighter Squadron based out of Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

These aircraft were used to demonstrate the US’s ability to “re-posture forces and deliver overwhelming power at a moment’s notice,” officials noted.

The F-22, is a tactical stealth fighter aircraft that can operate in all weather conditions and is aerodynamic and has great maneuverability that allows it perform in both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

CENTCOM asserted that the aircraft is the “best fifth-generation fighter in the world.”

While conducting missions in the Middle East, the 94th Fighter Squadron will “integrate” into coalition forces’ operations both on the ground and in the air in the sector, which also covers parts of South and Central Asia, officials stated.

The deployment of the F-22s represents a “clear demonstration of the commitment shared by partners, allies, and the U.S. to long-term peace and stability in the region,” officials noted.

“Russian Forces’ unsafe and unprofessional behavior is not what we expect from a professional air force. Their regular violation of agreed-upon airspace deconfliction measures increases the risk of escalation or miscalculation,” declared General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, CENTCOM commander. “Alongside our partners and allies, we are committed to improving the security and stability in the region.”

The announcement comes during a time of heightened tensions between the US and Russia after the latter’s invasion of its Ukrainian neighbor. It also comes after a series of “unprofessional behavior” from Russian aircraft in the Middle East in the last few months, per officials.

Lieutenant General Alexus Grynkewich, combined forces air component commander for CENTCOM, said to NBC News back in March that Russian military aircraft flew over a US military outpost in Syria nearly every day in March, which violated an agreement hammered out by both the US and Russia.

Russia’s actions risk heightening escalation, Grynkewich proclaimed.

Officials claimed that in April Russian pilots tried to “dogfight” American jets over Syria. Video footage of that incident was released by CENTCOM, which showed a Russian SU-35 fighter aircraft carrying out an “unsafe and unprofessional” intercept of a US F-16 fighter jet.

Indeed, there are clear tensions between Russia and the US in the Middle East. This would be completely avoidable if the US minded its business and stayed out of the Middle East. Instead, it runs a fanatic foreign policy committed to containing Russia everywhere, thereby overstretching its military resources. 

Instead, the US needs to go back to a humbler foreign policy of focusing its defense resources in the Western Hemisphere and securing its border. 

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