MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania --- Two F-22 Raptors and one KC-135 Stratotanker arrived at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, today.
The F-22s and approximately 20 supporting Airmen are from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The KC-135 aircraft is from the 916th Air Refueling Wing deployed from Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina.
"Today, I would like to highlight this deployment as a demonstration of our promise to support Romania and the rest of our NATO allies," Lt. Gen. Timothy Ray, 3rd Air Force commander, said during a press conference. "Romania is one of our strongest allies."
This is the largest F-22 deployment to Europe to date and is partially funded by the European Reassurance Initiative, which provides support to bolster the security of our NATO allies and partners in Europe while demonstrating the U.S. commitment to regional and global security. The F-22s will remain at MK for a brief period of time before returning to RAF Lakenheath, England, to continue their training deployment.
"Today, we rapidly deployed these aircraft, along with a KC-135 Stratotanker, here to showcase our flexible response and our range of capabilities," Ray explained. "These aircraft have the ability to project air dominance quickly, at great distances, to defeat any possible threat."
The F-22 deployments to RAF Lakenheath and MK prove that European bases and other NATO installations can host 5th generation fighters while also affording the chance for familiarization flight training within the European theater.
"It's important we test our infrastructure, aircraft capabilities, and the talented Airmen and allies who will host these aircraft in Europe," said Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. "This deployment advances our airpower evolution and demonstrates our resolve and commitment to European safety and security."
This F-22 forward deployment is conducted in coordination with our Romanian allies and is a demonstration of our continued commitment to the collective security of NATO and dedication to the enduring peace and stability of the region.