More American fighter planes heading East: U.S. F-16s to be deployed to Romania

Washington ramps up its presence in Eastern Europe with more U.S. Air Force F-16 combat planes deploying to Romania.

The U.S. is going to station more F-16 fighter jets to Romania, amind rising tensions after Russia’s invasion and subsequent annexiation of Crimea.

Even if the aircraft will take part in a pre-planned joint exercise, the deployment of the American warplanes close to Ukraine, is a just the last of a series of actions aimed at reassuring eastern Europe and Baltic allies worried by Russia’s seemingly aggressive posture.

Twelve Aviano F-16s are currently stationed in Poland, along with three C-130s and parachutes, whilst F-15Cs from RAF Lakenheath are providing Baltics Air Policing from Šiauliai, Lithuania, where tension is high and Russian Air Force’s intense military activity has heightened the security concerns.

Furthermore, the Pentagon is sending 175 new troops to Mihail Kogalniceanu military base in Romania, near the Black Sea port of Constanta, to boost the local presence of some 265 Marines already stationed there as part of a Black Sea Rotational Force.

Last but not least Washington is flexing muscles with long range round trip missions of its B-52 and B-2 strategic bombers.

Therefore, even if no F-22 Raptor stealth jets are deploying to Poland or Romania, Obama administration is slightly amassing forces around Ukraine, as Kiev prepares for battle.

With Russian planes in Crimea and Belarus, and U.S. and NATO planes in Poland, Romania and the Baltic states, this is already a new Cold War, isn’t it?

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


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About David Cenciotti 4453 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.


  1. I bet they have them stationed somewhere close by within decent range in case they do need them. Probably better then letting the whole world know that the F22s are on the way to Poland or so. We shall see.

    • Pretty sure they be sending the F-16 in place of the F-22, they didnt stop making them without a really good reason, that being they along with the F-35 are quote: “Useless”

  2. I cant see Russia wanting the Ukraine to be honest. Its totally corrupt, financially ruined and big expenses like Chernobyl need billions in clean-up still needed.

    On the other hand if America is sending B2 bombers to the region its a great opportunity for the Ruskies to get acquainted with the signatures of the B2. Su-27 guys in the region are sure to be getting plenty of seat time in the coming weeks.

    Its interesting the choice of planes being sent there though. Tried and tested rather then the new toys. It would be very embarrassing if the F22 made its début here only to crash, get shot down or was just not available when needed.

    • Most of those bombers would be wiped out in an instant. Russia isn’t some muslim country who throws rocks. The Ukraine has always been part of Russia. Read history. That is, until the Zionists set up shop there and got everybody in debt and inflation raised very high. If it sounds familiar then you must live in America. They have ruined America with debt because of their greed. The time is upon all people of the world to stop this evil so we can all live in peace. The Zionists have come to the end of the road.

      • The bombers are not there to bomb anywhere just for the moment. They are part of a political game play. The idea is that the Americans want to up the stakes and create a little tension. The political situation in the Ukraine is far too complex to discuss here though. Noted your passionate views on the situation but this is an aviation site and trying to keep that minimal. Thanks

      • F-16 is not a bomber only. It is a fighter/bomber. Depending on the situation it can change the role and of course it’s air to air capability is just impressing. Russia is not like some Muslim countries but there is not a big difference between them. As most of Muslim countries who were in a war with the U.S like Saddam’s Iraq were employers of the most modern Russian warfare at that time. Even now Bashar Asad’s army uses SA-17 _ a variant of S-300, but still cannot overcome the Israeli Air Force which uses U.S made F-16s and F-15s and gets hit every few weeks.

  3. The F-22 is a liability. It can’t communicate with other USAF fighter and it can’t communicate with NATO fighters. Not even that, in the case of a real engagement against Russians (if ever happen), on a BVR condition it wont be able to make a distinction between Ukrainian fighters and Russian fighters.
    If F-22 wont use BVR weapons, it is a bit complicated for this fighter to stand against Russian fighters in a regular dogfight.

    So, Uncle Sam may have to save his toy for a safer scenario. They can use it to impress North Koreans, Iranians…, but not Russians.

    • AWACS can call contacts hostile, and F-22 most definitely has a radio. If the US Air Force starts shooting down Russian planes, it’s going to be to protect NATO air space. Fighting an air war over Ukraine would require a huge logistics buildup that just hasn’t been seen yet.

      • Of course F-22 has a radio, but still the plane does not communicate with other USAF planes nor NATO and it includes AWACS. Together with other USAF and NATO planes (including AWACS), the F-22 fleet are stuck with partially incompatible secure communications systems. Voice communication is partially possible, but not data transfer. Basically, the F-22 can rear ally fighters, but can’t talk back. Effective communications between F-22 and other planes are virtually impossible. That is, unless they want to talk via old-fashioned radio, which can be intercepted and triangulated and could betray the planes’ locations. That would undermine the whole purpose of the F-22′s radar-evading stealth design.

        The F-22 was designed during the Cold War to be a solitary hunter, able to silently swap radar-based targeting data only with other F-22s using a special, hard-to-intercept radio datalink. Accordingly, the Raptor does not have the full Link 16 datalink installed on all other USAF and NATO fighters, support planes, warships and ground-based air defenses. Link 16 is what allows different air, sea and ground forces from the U.S. and its allies to securely swap information back and forth during wartime. To be clear, the F-22 can only receive Link 16 data. Again, the F-22 it is a solitary hunter, not a team player.

        In order to use the F-22, a no-fly zone has to be established without any other airplanes in the area (USAF and NATO), and therefore this is not a desirable option politically speaking. The F-22 can be considered a solution for one or two potential scenarios, specifically the defeat of a highly advanced enemy fighter fleet and also would require it to be deployed in large numbers. I believe no one is talking about a full scale war against Russia.

  4. Luckly we are far away from WWIII that’s why F-22 are not there.
    Nothing to do with anything else.

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