Introduction – May 11, 2023
US Air Force F-22s are about to be deployed to the Amari Air Base in Estonia but they won’t be the only NATO warplanes based there. They will be joining a contingent of Royal Air Force Typhoons already stationed there.
Together they represent some the the West’s most advanced and capable air power
To get some idea of how Russia will view this, imagine if advanced Russian and Chinese fighters were deployed to a Mexican Air Force base to monitor the Gulf of Mexico. Or if Russian and Chinese fighters were flying patrols out the Republic of Ireland over the Irish Sea.
The British Parliament, the US Congress and the White House would be in uproar.
Well this amounts to the same thing. Advanced British and American warplanes will be flying patrols in airspace that Russia considers its own backyard. The West is more than just asserting itself over sea lanes to and from Russia’s main north eastern port, we can’t help feeling that it is preparing for a direct military confrontation with Russia.
To make matter worse these potential areas of confrontation with Russia aren’t confined to the Baltic or Ukraine.
They are developing in Romania, where NATO is establishing a network of air and missile defences, that Russia claims is a threat to its interests.
There are also the Kuril Islands in the northern Pacific, currently occupied by Russia but claimed by Japan.
So potential areas of conflict with Russia are developing on multiple fronts and neither Russia or the West seems ready to back down. Ed.
US F-22s deploy to Estonia from Poland
NATO Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office – May 9, 2023
The U.S. Air Force F-22s supporting NATO Allied Air Command’s Air Shielding mission along the eastern flank have executed an Agile Combat Employment deployment to Amari Air Base, Estonia on May 8 to deter aggression in the Baltic Sea region.
The US fighters joined their Royal Air Force colleagues who are conducting NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission out of Amari 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 (IAMD) and Counter-Integrated Air Defence System (C-IADS) capabilities to safeguard the border along NATO’s eastern flank.
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.
The Baltic States of 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.
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 is designed to rapidly project dominance, penetrate evolving threats, and achieve air superiority.