U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland amid Crimea crisis
A squadron of U.S. Air Force F-16s from Aviano deploying to Poland in response to Ukrainian crisis.
Twelve F-16s and 300 military will deploy next week to Lask air base in central Poland, for a combined exercise with the Polish Air Force.
According to the Polish Minister of Defense Tomasz Siemoniak, the exercise was initially scheduled on a much smaller scale, but it was enhanced following the crisis on Poland’s eastern border.
U.S. F-16 deploy quite regularly to Poland. In May 2013, six F-16s and 150 men from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 176th Tactical Fighter Squadron from Truax Air Force Base deployed to Lask to train integration and interoperability with the Polish F-16s, Su-22s from 21 AFB in Świdwin and MiG-29s from 23 AFB in Minsk Mazowiecki.
Meanwhile, six F-15s from RAF Lakenheath reinforced the U.S. detachment at Siauliai in Lithuania, where the U.S. fighter jets provide Baltic area air policing tasks.
For the moment, these appear to be symbolic deployments: in case of confrontation, Washington will have to commit much more powerful assets.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force