This is (Not) an Exercise: U.S. Amasses Stealth-Jet Armada Near Iran according to Wired

This is (Not) an Exercise: U.S. Amasses Stealth-Jet Armada Near Iran according to Wired
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While most of analysts believe that the probability of an attack on Iran is low, signs on the ground are quiet contradictory. According to Wired, “The U.S. Air Force is quietly assembling the world’s most powerful air-to-air fighting team at bases near Iran. Stealthy F-22 Raptors on their first front-line deployment have joined a potent mix of active-duty and Air National Guard F-15 Eagles, including some fitted with the latest advanced radars. The Raptor-Eagle team has been honing special tactics for clearing the air of Iranian fighters in the event of war.”

“The fighters join a growing naval armada that includes Navy carriers, submarines, cruisers and destroyers plus patrol boats and minesweepers enhanced with the latest close-in weaponry.

It’s been years since the Air Force has maintained a significant dogfighting presence in the Middle East. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq Boeing-made F-15Cs flew air patrols from Saudi Arabia, but the Iraqi air force put up no resistance and the Eagle squadrons soon departed. For the next nine years Air Force deployments to the Middle East were handled by ground-attack planes such as A-10s, F-16s and twin-seat F-15E Strike Eagles.

The 1980s-vintage F-15Cs, plagued by structural problems, stayed home in the U.S. and Japan. The brand-new F-22s, built by Lockheed Martin, suffered their own mechanical and safety problems. When they ventured from their home bases in Virginia, Alaska and New Mexico, it was only for short training exercises over the Pacific. The F-15Cs and F-22s sat out last year’s Libya war.

 The Air Force fixed the F-15s and partially patched up the F-22s just in time for the escalating stand-off over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program. In March the Air Force deployed the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing, flying 20 standard F-15Cs, to an “undisclosed” air base in Southwest Asia — probably either Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates or Al Udeid in Qatar.”

All this is probably a sign that the US is not totally sure that Israel won’t launch an unexpected attack despites all the on going discussion in this elections year.

For more details on the F22 capabilities, you may read this Cap Falcon brief on the the DoD Quest for a sixth Generation fighter.

Source: Wired
Photo Credits:
Top: 030215-F-5712B-003 By Morning Calm News / FlickR
US Army (USA) Specialists Fourth Class (SPC4) Bobby Jenkins, assigned to Delta/Battery, 3rd Battalion-43rd Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Regiment, uses a pair of binoculars to scans the landscape around his Patriot Missiles based at Al Udeid AB, Qatar. (USAF PHOTO BY MSGT TERRY L. BLEVINS 030215-F-5712B-003)
Middle: F22_schematic By BattleSpartan / FlickR