The United States Air Force has deployed F-22 fighter jets, supporting the NATO Allied Air Command’s mission along the eastern flank, to Estonia’s Ämari Air Base.
The planes were deployed on 8 May with the purpose of deterring aggression in the Baltic Sea region, NATO said in a statement, calling it an Agile Combat Employment deployment.
The US fighters joined their Royal Air Force colleagues who are conducting NATO’s air policing mission out of Ämari with their Eurofighter Typhoons.
“In early April, Joint Base Langley-Eustice’s 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed 12 F-22s to Poland’s Powidz Air Base in support of the critical mission, which augments the alliance’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence and Counter-Integrated Air Defence System capabilities to safeguard the border along NATO’s eastern flank,” NATO said.
“Rapidly fielding forces in the Baltic Sea region highlights the operational readiness of allied forces and their ability to respond to defend NATO territory. The enhanced posture allows the alliance to deter and mitigate any potential air and missile threat. The Air Shielding mission is a purely defensive mission designed to shield and protect allied territory and populations and is a key component of NATO’s Deterrence and Defence Posture.”