In the face of renewed Russian aggression, the United States Air Force is preparing to deploy F-22 Raptor’s, the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft to the European theater.
At the recent Paris Air Show, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James pulled no punches.
“I would say, the biggest threat on my mind [is] the activities of Russia” she said when asked by a reporter what is the biggest threat America faces. “That’s a big part of why I am here in Europe to hold these discussions.”
In recent weeks Russian warplanes have been spotted over the English Channel, have buzzed U.S. reconnaissance planes and, in the video below, buzzed U.S. Navy warships.
“I could easily see the day when the F-22, for example, rotates in is a possibility. I don’t see why that couldn’t happen in the future,” James said, according to Military.com.
The 5th-generation F-22 Raptors became operational in 2005 but saw their first combat in attacks on ISIS positions in Syria late last year are primarily designed as air superiority fighters and are considered the best in the world in that role.
“The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft,” says the Air Force’s fact sheet for the F-22. That would include any aircraft Russia currently puts in the air. Official reaction to James’ remarks came through Russian state-sponsored media Sputnik International.
“Their deployment will certainly be an additional impetus for Moscow to speed up the process of developing and putting on service the Russian response, the fifth-generation T-50 fighter,” said Vladimir Batyuk, from the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as saying.
Here’s a documentary describing just how much badassery is packed into the F-22: