US considers sending new F-35 stealth fighters to Baltics (18)
The United States Air Force (USAF) is considering deploying a unit of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to the Baltics for air-policing purposes once the new aircraft officially becomes operational later this year.
"We would like to have F-35s, for example, do some Baltic air policing — that's one of the missions NATO does up in the Baltic regions, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania — in that part of the world, and put F-35s up to demonstrate," Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command told the US House Armed Services Committee (HASC) on Wednesday. "As I talk to the air chiefs over in Europe in this past week, all of them are very interested for their own countries to be able to see the visibility of that airplane out doing operational missions."
According to the online news site for magazine "The National Interest," Carlisle stated that the purpose of the F-35 deployments would be to send a message to potential adversaries such as Russia.