Tag Archives: Patriot Missile system

No, the withdrawal of U.S. F-15s from Turkey doesn’t mean NATO is leaving one of its members alone

The U.S. has withdrawn twelve F-15 fighter jets from Turkey but new NATO assets are on the way.

On Dec. 16, the U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles and Strike Eagles that were moved to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey just last month, have started returning to their homebase at RAF Lakenheath, UK.

The twelve F-15s were not only deployed in response to the Government of Turkey’s request for support in securing the sovereignty of Turkish airspace, but also to prove the U.S. Air Force ability to deploy aircraft  and Airmen on short notice to Turkey, if needed.

Six of these Eagles were F-15C air superiority fighters that flew training missions with Turkish Air Force aircraft enhancing the interoperability between the two services. During the deployment, a bilateral agreement to summarize the procedures for combat air patrol (CAP) missions to be performed by U.S. aircraft in Turkish airspace has been reached.

Along with the F-15Cs there were six F-15E Strike Eagles which joined U.S. and coalition air assets in attack missions against ISIL positions in Syria and Iraq (even though the extent of their involvement in the raids is not clear).

Noteworthy the withdrawal of the U.S. Air Force jets coincides with a new series of measures approved by NATO to strengthen Ankara’s air defenses on its border with Syria.

As reported by Reuters this defensive package will include both naval presence and maritime patrol aircraft.

An AWACS platform will monitor airspace exchanging information via data link with ground, airborne and sea based commanders with the latter stationed on German and Danish ships already sailing in eastern Mediterranean.

Moreover Spain has agreed to deploy its Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries on Turkey border after those belonged to Germany and U.S. have been withdrawn.

Although these defensive measures have been set to boost the Turkish airspace protection, they will also serve to discourage further incidents between Russia and Turkey after that a TuAF F-16 shot down a RuAF Su-24 near the Turkey-Syria border on Nov. 24.

Image credit: Senior Airman Trevor T. McBride and Staff Sgt. Stacy Fowler / U.S. Air Force 

Netherlands and Germany ready to deploy Patriot missiles to defend Turkish border with Syria

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen tweeted on Monday Nov. 19 that NATO would consider a request from Turkey to deploy Patriot anti-missile systems along its border with Syria.

Al Arabia website quotes Rasmussen as saying: “we will consider any request as a matter of urgency.” Rasmussen went on to add: “The situation on the Syria-Turkey border is of great concern. We have all the plans ready to defend and protect Turkey if needed. The plans will be adjusted if necessary to ensure effective protection of Turkey.”

Only two countries in Europe operate the Patriot anti-missile system, those being The Netherlands and Germany. German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere was quoted as saying the he expected a request on Monday.

Image credit: NATO

Dutch News website Volksrant says that the Dutch government has positive thoughts towards the request and would seek to gain a majority verdict in the Dutch Parliament. It should be pointed out that the Netherlands deployed its Patriots to Turkey during both Gulf Wars to provide protection from Iraqi Scuds.

Similar noises are coming out of Berlin. According to the German website DW, the deployment would be the first ever to a war zone for the anti-aircraft missile squadron.

[Read also: Photo: Israel – American exercise reaches its peak with actual Patriot launchings]

Based near the German town of Husum near the Danish border the Patriots have never been fired and according to DW the German government has sought to save costs by halving the Patriot capability by 2015 and will remove them from service totally by 2025.

One or two German units could be deployed very soon, although the German government is concerned as they do not want to be drawn into the Syrian civil war.

As of writing, no formal announcement has been made as to whether Turkey has made a request or if it has, whether NATO has agreed to send the missiles to the border area, nothing has been released on the NATO website.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

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U.S. to send additional Aviation Battalion of Apache helicopters, reconnaissance planes, missiles to South Korea

Media outlets in Asia are quoting General James Thurman, commander of the U.S. forces in Korea as saying that he has made a request to the Pentagon to deploy more attack helicopters, reconnaissance aircraft and missile assets to the region.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are at an all time high, amid fears that a third nuclear test or another military provocation aimed at boosting Kim Jong-un’s military credential after the recent rocket failure is to take place in the near future.

According to the Yonhap News Agency, talking to the Association of ROK (South Korea) Army forum on Jun. 12, Thurman said “In order to enhance our war-fighting capabilities, I have asked for prioritisation to receive an additional attack-reconnaissance squadron to bring to our combat aviation brigade”  he went on to add “and I have asked for increased capabilities in terms of theatre ballistic missile defense.”

He also said that he had asked the U.S. government to deploy one aviation battalion to it’s 2nd Infantry division along with increased Patriot missiles along with additional personnel.

Although Brigadier General Neil Tolley, commander of special forces South Korea, recently revealed that American and South Korean troops have been parachuting into North Korea, before denying it, it is the first time a top U.S commander has ever revealed plans that will result in additional military assets being deployed to the region, where the two Koreas are technically still at war as a peace treaty was never signed following the 1950-53 war.

Monday Jun. 11 also saw South Korea’s military perform an unannounced readiness drill to check out how its forces would perform during another provocation saying that it would “immediately punish the core forces of provocations.”

This follows on from a thinly veiled threat from North Korea towards the South’s media accusing them of “hurling unbearable insults” at the country’s new leader. Even if these sorts of threats have taken place in the past, this time the North listed the co-ordinates for some of the media offices in Seoul.

During the forum Thurman was asked about a possible nuclear test and speculation that further military aggression was to take place. He said that the allies could “deter North Korean aggression and defeat that aggression, should deterrence fail.” Thurman went to to state that “he would not discuss details of operational matters but his number one priority is to defend the ROK against any North Korean provocation whether it be strategic, tactical and asymmetric.”

Without giving details Thurman finished off by saying that the U.S military is “closely monitoring” North Korean military movements, to make sure that they can properly defend South Korea.

Going by the equipment and resources requested and the type of exercise being held in the area, it looks like the allies are either preparing to war or fear some sort of attack or incursion from the North.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: U.S. Army