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US deploys F-22s to CENTCOM in response to ‘unsafe and unprofessional' Russian air activity in region

The US Air Force has sent its premier air-to-air combat aircraft, the F-22 Raptor, to CENTCOM AOR “in the wake of increasingly unsafe and unprofessional behaviour by Russian aircraft in the region”. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The US has sent Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighters to the Middle East in response to “unsafe and unprofessional” behaviour by Russian aircraft in the region, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on 14 June.

An undisclosed number of the air dominance fighters have been deployed from the 94th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to an undisclosed location in CENTCOM's area of responsibility (AOR).

“US Air Force F-22 Raptors deployed to US Central Command's area of responsibility as part of a multifaceted show of US support and capability in the wake of increasingly unsafe and unprofessional behaviour by Russian aircraft in the region,” CENTCOM said. “The Raptors … are demonstrating the US' ability to re-posture forces and deliver overwhelming power at a moment's notice.”

“Russian Forces' unsafe and unprofessional behaviour is not what we expect from a professional air force. Their regular violation of agreed-upon airspace deconfliction measures increases the risk of escalation or miscalculation,” General Michael Erik Kurilla, commander of CENTCOM, was quoted as saying.

The F-22 is an air dominance platform that is arguably without equal. For the air-to-air role, the aircraft's internal weapons bays can carry six Raytheon AIM-120s Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles and two Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles, plus it is equipped with an M61A2 20 mm internal Gatling gun with 480 rounds.

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