U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors arrived at Al Dhafra Air Base, in the United Arab Emirates, Feb. 12 as part of a multifaceted demonstration of U.S. support after a series of attacks throughout January threatened U.S. and Emirati armed forces stationed at the host installation. The Secretary of Defense ordered the rapid deployment of the fifth-generation aircraft in coordination with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE and will join a range of joint, coalition and allied and partner combat airpower capabilities already based across the region.
“Through the vital support of the 192d Wing and the 633rd Air Base Wing, we were able to get the 27th Fighter Squadron out the door on short-notice. Our Raptors are modernized highly-capable fighters, operated by the finest Airmen, and they bring decisive airpower wherever they go,” said Col. William Creeden, 1st Fighter Wing commander.
“The unparalleled capabilities of the F-22 in a variety of missions, as well as its ability to interoperate with joint, coalition, allied and partner forces make it ideally suited to serve in the Middle East region during this critical time,” said Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, 9th AF (AFCENT) commander. “The Raptors’ presence will bolster already strong partner nation defenses and puts destabilizing forces on notice that the U.S. and our partners are committed to enabling peace and stability in the region.”
The Airmen and F-22s are deployed from the 1st Fighter Wing, located at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The Raptor’s last deployment to the region was from June 2019-February 2020. The Department of Defense has also sent the U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS Cole to partner with the UAE Navy. It is now docked in Abu Dhabi and will continue to provide early warning intelligence, and collaborate on air defense. Collectively, the actions serve as a clear signal that the United States stands with the UAE as a strategic partner.