The US military has deployed F-22 Raptors from Langley Air Force Base to the Middle East due to increasingly unsafe and unprofessional behavior by Russian aircraft in the region, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) said Wednesday.
“The Raptors, from Langley Air Force Base, Va.’s 94th Fighter Squadron, are demonstrating the US’ ability to re-posture forces and deliver overwhelming power at a moment’s notice,” CENTCOM said in a statement.
While in the region, the recently added jets will integrate with other Coalition forces on the ground and in the air.
CENTCOM Commander Gen. Erik Kurilla criticized Russia’s unsafe and unprofessional behavior. “Their regular violation of agreed-upon airspace deconfliction measures increases the risk of escalation or miscalculation,” he said.
This move comes on the heels of US military officials telling Al Arabiya English last week that Russia’s military forces in Syria had stopped adhering to agreed-upon deconfliction protocols with American and Coalition troops.
A senior US military general said Wednesday that Russia is continuing to try to drag the US into a dogfight over the skies of Syria.
“I’ll tell you that just in the last few days, and most recently this morning, the Russians have continued to engage in that kind of provocative behavior,” said Lt. Gen. Grynkewich, the US general responsible for air operations in the Middle East, in an interview with Defense One.
He also warned Russia against any direct conflict while noting that Washington was not looking for such events. “I think that what they don’t understand is that they have very limited options, where the United States of America, we’ve got a lot more options in terms of the forces that we could bring here,” he said.
And despite Russian efforts to try to frustrate US troops and push them out of the region, Lt. Gen. Grynkewich said it would not work. “Absent their willingness to use actual military force, which would not end well for them, there’s no way that they can actually push us out of the airspace.”
US officials have said there are under 1,000 American troops in Syria as part of the Defeat ISIS campaign. Troops have routinely come under attack by Iran-backed groups.
In March, Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich said Russian jets violated the airspace over a US military base around 25 times.
Source: ALARABIYA News