19th Jun 2019

US increases airforce presence in Europe

  • F-22s, which operate in Syria and Iraq, have never been deployed in Europe (Photo: US Air Force)

The US Air Force will "very soon" deploy F-22 fighters jets to Europe, Air Force secretary Deborah James announced Monday (24 August) as part of a plan to increase Nato presence near Russia, while A-10 tankbusters arrived in Estonia on Saturday.

The US official did not specify the number of planes, nor the date and place of their deployment, but she said the operation is part of the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The ERI was launched in June 2014 by US president Barack Obama in the wake of the war in eastern Ukraine and Russian threats against eastern Europe.

"Russia's military activity in Ukraine continues to be of great concern to us and to our European allies”, James said at a press conference in Washington.

"For the Air Force, an F-22 deployment is certainly on the strong side of the coin”.

'Significant threat'

The decision comes a few days after US defense secretary Ash Carter told reporters that Russia posed a "very, very significant threat" to the US and that a "strong and balanced" approach was needed to face it.

This will be the first deployment of Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor in Europe.

The stealth fighter jet is currently used in operations against Islamic radicals in Syria and Iraq. Its deployment in Europe will be used to step up training and co-operation with other Nato air forces equipped with other jets.

"We’ll get the F-22 into facilities that we would potentially use in a conflict in Europe," Mark Welsh, the US Air Force’s chief of staff, said at the press conference with James Monday.

"This is a natural evolution of our bringing our best air-to-air capability in to train with partners”, he said.

Meanwhile eight A-10 fighters arrived in Estonia on Saturday.

The planes will be stationed for three weeks as part of the Operation Atlantic Resolve, launched in 2014 as a reaction to Russia's involvement in Ukraine and to counter Russia's increased military activity in European airspace.

US pilots and crew will train with Estonian and Finnish counterparts.

Also known by the nickname "Warthog" or "Hog", Fairchild Republic's A-10 Thunderbolt II is designed for attacks against tanks and armoured vehicles.

A-10s were permanently stationed in Germany until 2013 and the US started to deploy them again in Europe in March 2015.

In a recent report, the London-based NGO European Leadership Network (ELN) warned that Nato and Russia were “preparing for a possible confrontation”.


The deployment of F-22s and A-10s is taking place as the situation in Ukraine seems to be deteriorating, again.

Fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatists increased in recent days, with Russia accusing Ukraine of preparing a new offensive.

On Monday, while celebrating Ukraine's Independence day, president Petro Poroshenko said that "Russian armed groups near our eastern borders today exceed 50,000 men”.

"There are over 40,000 troops in occupied territories. Of them, there are 9,000 officers of Russia's regular armed forces who thus form units of the Russian army in our territory”.

Poroshensko later flew to Berlin where he met with German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande.

"We clearly declare that for today, unfortunately, Russia and Russia-backed militants pose the only threat to the restoration of peace and stability in the region," he said at a press conference there, adding that that three Russian convoys recentlyy crossed the country's border to the rebel-held areas of Luhansk, Donetsk and Debaltseve.

Merkel and Hollande, for their part, insisted on the implementation of the Minsk ceasefire agreement signed by the three countries and Russia.

"Everything must be done so the ceasefire can become a reality”, Merkel said.

News in Brief

  1. New socialist group leader to push for Timmermans
  2. Romanian ex-PM frontrunner to head new liberal group
  3. France, Germany and Spain in fighter jet deal
  4. Tusk grilled in Poland over role as PM
  5. Italy is 'most credible' US partner in EU, says Salvini
  6. EU blames Sudan junta for killings and rapes
  7. Report: EU may suspend Turkey customs union talks
  8. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July


EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. EU urges Swiss to move on talks or face sanction
  2. Frontex transparency dispute goes to EU court
  3. Commission goes easy on scant national climate plans
  4. Macron and Mogherini decline to back US accusation on Iran
  5. EU summit must give effective answer on migration
  6. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  7. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  8. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  2. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  5. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  10. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  11. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  12. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us