US sends F-35 fighter jets to Germany to bolster NATO defenses
The United States sent F-35 fighter jets to Germany on Monday to bolster NATO defenses, the Air Force Reserve Command announced Wednesday.
The jets were sent to Spangdahlem Air Base with pilots, maintainers and support personnel from the active-duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing.
The F-35A Lightning II are the most advanced fighter jets the U.S. has, capable of carrying out “a variety of missions to deter aggression and defend Allies should deterrence fail,” the Air Force said.
The 388th Fighter Wing is the first active-duty combat unit able to use the jets.
“The deployment of U.S. F-35As to Spangdahlem Air Base increases the defensive posture of the NATO Alliance and enhances our ability to operate together,” commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, said.
“We are facing a dynamic environment and this deployment significantly enhances our support to NATO’s defenses,” he added.
The move comes as Russia still has more than 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s border.
A senior Biden administration official said Wednesday that Russia has added as many as 7,000 troops at the border with Ukraine, characterizing claims by Moscow that it was withdrawing forces as “false.”
“Every indication we have now is they mean only to publicly offer to talk and make claims about de-escalation while privately mobilizing for war,” the official said of Moscow’s claims.
Along with the F-35 jets, the U.S. sent eight F-15Es to Poland, and six KC-135 Stratotankers went to Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
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