Six US F-22 fighter jets dispatched from a US Air Force Base in Virginia arrived in Abu Dhabi Saturday as part of the American backing for UAE against recent missile attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The six Raptor jets landed at the Al-Dhafra Air Base, which hosts some 2,000 US troops, “as part of a multifaceted demonstration of US support after a series of attacks throughout January threatened US and Emirati armed forces stationed at the host installation,” the US Air Force (USAF) Central Command said in a statement.
American officials did not say how many F-22s have been deployed or the number of airmen supporting the aircraft, but photos released by the US Air Forces Central showed six jets, which it said were from the 1st Fighter Wing, located at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.
“The Raptors’ presence will bolster already strong partner nation defenses and puts destabilizing forces on notice that the United States and our partners are committed to enabling peace and stability in the region,” Lt. General Gregory M. Guillot, Deputy Commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, and Deputy Combined Force Air Component Commander, U.S. Central Command, Southwest Asia, said in the statement.
“Through the vital support of the 192d Wing and the 633rd Air Base Wing, we were able to get the 27th Fighter Squadron out the door on short-notice. Our Raptors are modernized highly-capable fighters, operated by the finest Airmen, and they bring decisive airpower wherever they go,” Colonel William Creeden, 1st Fighter Wing Commander, added.
Additionally, the US Navy has also sent the guided missile destroyer USS Cole to partner with the UAE Navy, the US statement said, adding the destroyer is now docked in Abu Dhabi “and will continue to provide early warning intelligence, and collaborate on air defense.”
“Collectively, the actions serve as a clear signal that the United States stands with the UAE as a strategic partner,” the statement stressed.