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US Air Force F-22 Raptors deter aggression over Baltic skies

  • Published
  • By Capt. Paige Skinner
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa

U.S. Air Force fifth-generation fighters supporting NATO Allied Air Command’s Air Shielding mission along the Eastern Flank executed an Agile Combat Employment deployment to Ämari Air Base, Estonia, May 8, to deter aggression in the Baltic Sea region.

In early April, Joint Base Langley-Eustis' 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed 12 F-22 Raptors to Poland’s Powidz Air Base in support of the critical mission, which augments the alliance’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense and Counter-Integrated Air Defense System capabilities to safeguard the nearly 1,500-mile-long border along NATO’s Eastern Flank.

By rapidly fielding forces alongside NATO allies in the Baltic Sea region, U.S. Air Forces in Europe highlight the operational readiness of the coalition forces throughout the European theater and their ability to respond to defend NATO territory.

The Baltic nations – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – are situated on a critical air, land and sea corridor, which requires a coordinated approach between allies to maintain and sustain international freedom of maneuver throughout the region.

A Spanish NASAMS air defense system currently deployed to Latvia provides ground-based air defense capabilities in close coordination with the Latvian Control and Reporting Center. Also deployed to Estonia, Royal Air Force Typhoons are conducting NATO’s peacetime Air Policing mission. The ability of the U.S. to rapidly augment other deployed units with fifth-generation fighters expands the alliance’s ability to integrate across all domains.

An effective IAMD structure incorporates air, land, sea, space and cyber domains to provide full-spectrum awareness of airspace faced with complex adversary threats. As a highly maneuverable stealth aircraft, the F-22 fifth-generation fighter is designed to rapidly project dominance, penetrate evolving threats, and achieve air superiority.