Three years after President Barack Obama seemed to concede to Russia’s complaints about a missile-defence shield, a small contingent of US Airmen took up residence on Lask Air Base.An Aviation Detachment (AV DET) will service four annual rotations of fighter plane squadrons during their trips to train Polish pilots. More than 200 additional troops will take part in the training exercises.
Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group will be responsible for getting the base ready for training, such as setting up communications and arranging lodging and transportation, the Stars and Stripes reports.
Poland, a strong ally of America’s, asked the US for protection as Russia became more aggressive. As of 2009, when the Bush plan was scrapped, Moscow was cutting off heating supplies in winter, and had attacked former state Georgia in 2008, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The earlier plan was to deploy interceptor rockets and a radar station to Poland and the Czech Republic to keep Europe safe from Iran and other potentially dangerous states. But Russia took the shield as a threat, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Despite the complaints, the US has rotated Patriot-missile batteries through Poland yearly since 2010. By 2018, Poland will host land-based SM-3 interceptors. The weapons, which are currently sea-based and used primarily by the Navy, destroy short- and medium- range missiles by colliding with them.
Stars and Stripes said Poland’s defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak called the detachment a “cooperation that is not just about rhetoric, but about very specific, concrete steps.”
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