Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cold war reloaded. Its Raptors against Flankers over European skies.

United States Air Force to deploy F-22 Raptors in Europe to deter Russian Flankers

       The military build up in Eastern Europe has gone a notch up, USA has now decided to field heavy war machinery across European countries. Specific sources have confirmed that USA is contemplating about deploying at least a single squadron of its most advanced F 22 Raptor in bases in the European bases. USA has termed Russia as the biggest threat in the region. Soon after Baltic nations became part of NATO, America deployed two Threat Security Packages (TSP) consisting of twelve F-15 from the Florida National Guard and twelve A-10 thunderbolt from the 355th fighter wing.

     Raptor are the most priced possession of the USAF which has not even been exported to its trusted allies. The Raptors have been till time deployed in mainland America and operated in the Asia-Pacific region but only as rotational deployment. USA has just concluded its naval drills with Ukraine, Russia had warned of a befitting reply to the drills. In a surprise and an extremely risky maneuver a Russian Su-24 jet buzzed USS Donlad Cook in Black Sea. US had termed this move as extremely provocative and have warned Russia against any such maneuvers in the future. 

      Ever since the Ukrainian invasion, relations between Russia and USA have been severed and experts believe the countries are at the brink of starting a modern cold war scenario. Air space violation, repeated weapons validation tests and bi-lateral exercises have doubled ever since. USA and the rest of the western bloc have hit the Russian economy hard by imposing economic sanctions. Putin has been putting up a brave face all along but with Russia being cornered the development rather the existence of a self-prevailing Russia is being questioned. Crimea has been a key talking point all along, the incident of MH-17 send ripples across the globe. Russia and involved nations are nuclear states and have the highest stockpile of the WMD’s.

 Lost is the era under USSR when Russia was an unchecked power, but the collapse of USSR changed the course for Russia. Russia lost the regional control and also lost the prosperous states which were under its control. Russia under Putin is headed towards restoring the dominance in the region. Putin has adopted the best possible aggressive move to put Russia where it once belonged.

It all started with Russia annexing Crimea, which the international community had reportedly recognized as Ukrainian territory.  Facing the wrath of Russia, Ukraine was forced to join NATO and OSCE to counter the Russians.  With Ukraine a success, Putin focused towards the other former USSR nations specially Latvia and Lithuania.

     Russian forces have been violating the international airspace at alarming levels. There have been instances when Russians had deployed two Tu 92 bombers on a long range patrol over the International border. The Tuplov aircraft were accompanied by two IL 78 aerial refuel tankers which were escorted by two heavily armed Su 27. The patrol stretched as far as Portugal and was then resisted by Typhoons which escorted out the formation.  

      With violations increasing at an alarming rate the smaller countries have expressed their disability to check the repeated violations. Germany, Britain and France are being outstretched, the answer came with USA deploying its F-15’s in bases across Europe but these squadrons are up for rotation. After the Crimean annexation the patrol missions have reached to an astonishing sixteen missions from a mere two missions.

    US Air force secretary Daborah James has confirmed the news and has stated that ‘ Russia was the biggest threat on her mind’. The secretary went on to say “It's extremely worrisome on what's going on in the Ukraine. We've seen the type of warfare, which someone dubbed it hybrid warfare, which is somewhat new. So I would put that at the top of my list.”   The F-22 will not be deployed on a permanent basis rather on a rotational deployment. The F-22 will be replacing the home bound F-15’s, six Raptors were deployed in bases along the Asia-Pacific region. The fighter was homed in Dubai and Japan, the F-22 had proved their might by escorting a US navy MQ4 drone which was being tailed by a Iranian F-14.

      With the AESA radars the F22 can jam low powered passive radars, like NIIP Radar which is fitted onto most of the Russian flankers. The situation though critical along the international airspace will surely not witness any aircraft firing missiles. Hence the need will be for a versatile jet that can meddle with the enemy platforms and at the same time defend and attack if the need arises. The deployment of F-22 is also a win-win situation to the USAF, the operations of F-22 has been largely constrained to mainland US. With the deployment to troubled skies the fighter will also get a shot at proving it’s might against the most capable enemy of US. The aircraft has some of the latest technology on-board and clubbed with stealth the aircraft is a flying ghost house in the skies. It has to be seen what will be answer of Russian forces for the deployment of the F-22’s.   

Article - Karthik Kakoor

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