Often called the most powerful fighters in the world, F-22 Raptors of the US Air Force arrived in the UAE following a series of missile and drone attacks by Houthi fighters in Yemen, the USAF said on Saturday.
US Air Force’s central office tweeted: F-22 Raptors arrived at Al Dhafra Air Base, in the UAE, today as part of a multifaceted demonstration of U.S. support after a series of attacks throughout January threatened U.S. and Emirati armed forces stationed at the host installation.
“The unparalleled capabilities of the F-22 in a variety of missions, as well as its ability to interoperate with joint, coalition, allied and partner forces make it ideally suited to serve in the #MiddleEast region during this critical time,” – Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot tweeted.
The U.S. Secretary of Defense ordered the rapid deployment of the Raptors in coordination with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE, said a statement by the United States Air Forces Central.
The airmen and F-22s are deployed from the 1st Fighter Wing, located at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, the U.S. Air Force said.
Earlier as EurAsian Times reported, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had said that Washington would deploy fighter jets and a guided-missile destroyer USS Cole to help UAE tackle regional threats, following a recent series of attacks from Houthis.
“Over the next week or so, we’re going to bring in a squadron of F-22 fighter jets, the best air superiority fighters in the world. They will also work with their UAE partners to help defend the nation,” McKenzie said in an interview with the Emirates News Agency.
The US is working with the UAE and other regional partners in the industry to develop more effective solutions to prevent drone attacks, including a system to detect drones and destroy them in places of their launches, the official explained.
Since January, Houthis resumed attacks on UAE in what they said was a response to Emirati involvement in hostilities against the movement in Yemen, locked in an armed conflict between the government forces, led by President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, and the Houthi rebels for several years.
Since March 2015, the Saudi-led Arab alliance, working in cooperation with Hadi’s forces, has been conducting air, land, and sea operations against the rebels, who control the capital of Sanaa and large areas in northern and western Yemen.
Earlier, the Biden administration approved the sale of $65 million of spare parts for Patriot radars and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems to the United Arab Republic (UAE), the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced in a press release.
“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of Foreign Military Sales Order (FMSO) II Case and related equipment for an estimated cost of $65 million,” the release read.
Earlier, as The EurAsian Times reported, France said it would deploy its Rafale jets to conduct aerial surveillance for UAE to defend the country’s airspace against drone and missile threats.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly announced on Twitter that Paris will provide military support to protect Emirati airspace from intrusion. “The United Arab Emirates was [a] victim of serious attacks on its territory in January,” Parly tweeted.
France has a permanent military base in Abu Dhabi and maintains robust economic and political relations with the country. Paris also signed a historic deal with the UAE and consented to sell 80 F4 variants of Rafale fighter jets to the UAE in December, marking the biggest ever export for any French firm.