Hey Russia! What Do You Think of These F-16s?
U.S. Air Force boosts fighters in Poland
Twelve U.S. Air Force F-16s and 300 airmen will deploy to Lask air base in central Poland for an exercise with the Poles during the third week of March.
Planners expanded the long-planned war game following Russia’s bloodless invasion of Ukraine’s strategic Crimea region in late February, according to Polish Minister of Defense Tomasz Siemoniak.
The U.S. Air Force has also sent extra F-15s to the Baltic and the U.S. Navy is sailing the destroyer USS Truxtun through the Turkish Straits to the Black Sea near Crimea to train with the Bulgarians and Romanians. In small increments, the Pentagon is boosting its presence near the Russian frontier.
American F-16s deploy to Poland on a regular basis. In May 2013, six F-16s and 150 airmen from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 176th Fighter Squadron deployed to Lask to train alongside Polish jets—F-16s and Su-22s from 21 AFB at ?widwin and MiG-29s from 23 AFB at Minsk Mazowiecki.
To be clear, these are all largely symbolic deployments meant to express Washington’s displeasure with Russia’s occupation of Crimea. In case of war with Russia, the U.S. would have to commit much, much more powerful assets.