​US National Guard sends 12 F-15 interceptor jets to Europe to guard against Russia

American pilots prepare to board their F-15C fighters. (Reuters / Kamal Kishore)
Florida Air Guard is to deploy 12 F-15C jets and about 200 airmen to Europe as part of Washington’s military build-up, which it claims is necessary to protect European NATO members from ‘Russian aggression.’

The fighters and troops from the 125th Fighter Wing of the Florida Air National Guard are to go to Europe in mid-April, the US Air Forces in Europe reported this week. The F-15C Eagles are equipped with advanced air-to-air radar and sniper targeting equipment that allows visual tracking at extremely long ranges.

The F-15s would be sent to the Netherlands and later Bulgaria.

The unit is to replace 12 A-10s from the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, which have been deployed since February. The A-10s is hosted at US Air Base Spangdahlem in Germany, but also visited RAF Lakenheath in UK and Poland.

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The deployment is a "theater security package", part of the Operation Atlantic Resolve, a series of American troops deployments and training exercises in Europe, which Washington claims is necessary to protect European NATO members from a Russian aggression. Moscow sees them as provocative and escalating tension amid the ongoing crisis over the Ukrainian turmoil.

In addition to the A-10s, the Pentagon recently deployed 14 F-16s from Aviano air base in Italy to Estonia.

The Florida Air Guard is the first US National Guard force to contribute to the anti-Russian operation in Europe.

On the ground, the US saber rattling comes in the form of dozens Stryker armored vehicles rolling across Europe and stopping at a new capital every night.