Monday, August 31, 2015

Two U.S. F-22 fighter jets arrive in Poland as part of European training mission

WARSAW (Reuters) - Two advanced U.S. F-22 fighter jets arrived in Poland on Monday for a one-day working visit, the Polish army said, a part of Washington's efforts to reassure allies made uneasy by Russian actions in Ukraine.

The visit is a part of the F-22's first-ever deployment to Europe, where four of the stealth fighters will train with allied air forces and U.S. services through mid-September. The four aircraft arrived at Spangdahlem Air base in Germany on Friday.

"The U.S. is conducting reconnaissance of abilities of operating this type of aircraft at an allied airport," Polish army spokesman Artur Golawski told Reuters. The planes landed at a military air base in Lask, in central Poland.

Earlier this month, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh James said the F-22's deployment in Europe would allow U.S. forces to train with NATO partners across Europe, testing the ability of the jets to communicate and fight together with the Eurofighter and other advanced warplanes.

James said the deployment would also give F-22 pilots more experience with the European terrain. The Air Force has previously deployed the jets in Japan and South Korea but not in Europe.

The stealth tactical fighter aircraft was designed by Lockheed and Boeing Co as a fighter, but it can also be used for ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence.

The jets formally entered service in December 2005, with the last F-22 delivered to the Air Force in 2012.

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