The U.S. Air Force has deployed air superiority planes near Syria.
Six F-15C Eagle jets, belonging to the 493rd Fighter Squadron of the 48th Fighter Wing, from RAF Lakenheath, UK, have just deployed to Incirlik airbase, in Turkey.
According to the U.S. Air Force, the air superiority planes were moved close to Syria “in a demonstration of the United States unwavering support for Turkish sovereignty and the collective security of the region.”
Furthermore, the USAFE-AFAFRICA F-15s, pure air superiority aircraft not used for ground attack missions, “were deployed after the Government of Turkey requested support in securing the sovereignty of Turkish airspace.”
Although the Eagles will theoretically be used to secure the Turkey-Syria border that is violated by Syrian and Russian planes every now and then, the decision to move 6 or more (according to some sources, up to 12) F-15s near Syria seems to be aimed at flexing the muscles against the Russians that have been quite active in western Syria since Moscow launched its first air strikes against terrorists at the end of September.
Some media outlets speculated the F-15Cs, world’s most successful combat-proven dogfighters (that have recently taken part in an exercise in Israel and earlier this year in Turkey), will be used against the Russian combat planes if these fly a bit too close with the U.S. and coalition aircraft conducting air strikes in Syria but this seems to be a bit far-fetched at this stage: they will probably provide air cover to the A-10s, Special Forces support assets etc, without interfering with their Russian counterparts to avoid risky close encounters. Unless this is strictly required.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force