The US has deployed two of its most advanced fighter jets to Romania in order to better keep an eye on Russian activity in the Black Sea, the Air Force Times reports.
The two F-22 Raptors are part of a supporting US force that has been deployed to NATO member Romania. The aircraft are there as part of a mission intended to “bolster the security of NATO allies and partners in Europe,” according to a US Air Force press release.
The F-22, the first truly operational fifth-generation fighter in the world, will be used to both further increase interoperability between the US and fellow NATO nations as well as a signal to Russia that the US will stand with NATO against any Russian aggression.
“These aircraft have the ability to project air dominance quickly, at great distances, to defeat any possible threat,” US Lt. Gen. Timothy Ray said of the F-22 deployment in Romania at a press conference.
The deployment comes soon after Russian military aircraft repeatedly buzzed a US naval ship that was in international waters in the Baltic Sea.
In response to that incident, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the ship would have been justified in shooting down the Russian aircraft.
The US decision to place the F-22s in Europe also comes on the heels of dire predictions concerning NATO readiness to defend the Baltics in the event of a Russian invasion of the NATO member states.
In February, the thinktank RAND published a report estimating that at current defence levels, Russia would be able to occupy the Baltics in just two days.
The F-22 deployment is not the only indication of US concern over a Russian drive to become a global power. In response to concerns that Russia has increased its submarine activity to Cold War levels, the US is will reopen a submarine hunting base in Iceland due to Russia’s increase naval activity in the North Atlantic.