Saturday, April 28, 2012
US Stealth Fighters at Iran's Back Door
The 308th Air Expeditionary Wing stood up at Al Dahfra Air Base, United Arab Emirates (UAE) with approximately 1,200 personnel made up of active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard. Longer range aircraft (KC-10 refuelers, U-2, E-3 Sentry and the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle) are based there. Basing F-22 stealth fighters there, changes both the mission of the 308th as well as indicates the increasing tensions between the US and Iran. ABC News
The more interesting part of this story is the F-22 itself. "Since they were rolled out in 2005, F-22 Raptors - the most advanced and pricey fighter jets used by the U.S. military - have been plagued with the oxygen system problems, and have never been flown in combat." Daily Mail
The F-22 has been grounded several times since its roll-out in 2005. The most recent was as recent this past February due to oxygen system problems. It makes you wonder if the decision to deploy our most expensive, unproven weapon system so close to Iran. It could be showmanship to demonstrate a "real" commitment to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Or it could be an admission that after 10 years of the Global War on Terror, US fighter and bomber aircraft are just too worn-out to be an effective deterrent.