With the war in the Ukraine at a critical stage, tensions in the countries under the influence of the former Soviet Union could not be getting much higher. With the Ukrainian Armed Forces putting pressure on Putin’s Generals, the tension can be felt across NATO’s eastern flank.
NATO has been bolstering all of its Allied Nation’s local units. Recent deployment around the Europe show Italians, Canadians, Spanish and US forces all rotating around various countries that share a border with Russia and Ukraine.
These deployments have showcased some of the US Military’s most advanced and capable units. If several years ago it was very rare to see what is known as 5th generation aircraft deployed to any bases in Europe, the past year has seen F35s in Romania and Poland and F22s across Poland and Norway.
Since last February the US has shifted its posture from the recently evacuated Afghanistan to deal with the ongoing tensions caused by Russian aggression.
On August 5th, 12 F22 Raptors landed at Lask Air Force Base near Lodz, Poland. The Raptors, belonging to the 90th Fighter Squadron are based out of Elmendorf Joint Base Alaska and are nicknamed “the Dicemen”.
Their task is to take over NATO’s “Air Shielding” mission which is meant to defend NATO allied nations airspace from Russian threats.
Deploying F22s to Poland is a significant show of force on the US’s part. These aircraft are considered by most experts to be the World’s best fighter jets, placing them in Poland is meant to showcase the US and NATO’s commitment to defending Allied nations from the possibility of a Russian invasion.
While in Poland the “Dicemen” haven’t been wasting any time getting to know the neighborhood, The F22 Raptor squadron has been training with not only the Polish Air Force but with 10 other Allied Nations as well. This is a concentrated effort to enhance the Raptors ability to cooperate as seamlessly as possible within NATO’s eclectic fighting force.
Additionally, over the past several months since deploying to Lask, these aircraft have also forward deployed to various other locations around Europe such as Norway and the Netherlands. This has been done in an effort to ensure their ability to operate around the European theatre.
When the USAF Commander of the detachment was asked how long will the F22s remain in Poland, his answer was “As long as they need to”. It would seem that following Russia’s seemingly unexpected actions, the US and its allies are not taking any chances. With Raptors defending Poland’s skies, it is safe to say they have the best defense anyone could wish for.