Monday, January 28, 2013

US Recalling F-22s from the UAE...

Today Iran reportedly launched a rocket into space carrying a monkey which, again, reportedly, returned to Earth safely.  Now I'm not sure I believe the poor monkey returned safely, it doesn't surprise me Iran might be looking to rachet things up a bit similar to North Korea.

A year ago we deployed an unknown number of F-22s to the United Arab Emerites (F-22s to the UAE). 

Today, six F-22s passed through Pease Airbase here in NH (photo at left is their overflight of the NH area) on their way back to Holloman AFB in New Mexico along with their accompanying seven support tankers and aircraft (F22s come through Pease...).  Holloman's current 21 F-22s are scheduled to transfer to Tyndall AFB in Florida next year but for now it is home to the 49th fighter wing.

If this was merely a shuffle of airplanes with "reserve" F-22s coming in to replace these that were on their way home, wouldn't you keep the support aircraft in place in the UAE?  We've frequently seen A-10 squadrons heading back and forth to Afghanistan via the Westfield, MA and they aren't typically accompanied by their support staff--because that support staff is still needed for the ongoing operations in Afghanistan with replacement aircraft already in place or on their way.

Not so here.  Instead it appears you have a wholesale removal of the F-22 squadron from the UAE, replacement unknown.  If I was Iran, or Russia, or China, I'd be sending my satellites for a quick scan of the UAE base where these were stationed to see if there is ANY presence left (blow up ballon F-22s don't count).

Why would you do this now given Iran's posturing, Syria's crumbling and Isreal's doubling down on a conservative government?  Who knows?!?!  If I did, I wouldn't be sitting here working at a bank.  If I had to guess, the original, April 12th deployment was a quid pro quo with Isreal in an attempt to show them that we had their back and would bring forces to the table for their defense in exchange for more time/lack of action on their part.  Their removal would signal to me the end of this relationship, meaning either Iran no longer represents a threat (unlikely), Isreal is unconcerned with Iran's developments (equally unlikely) or the US wants to get out of being drawn into any sort of Isreal/Iran conflict with its world class fighters sitting on the ground as Isreali/Iranian fighters fly overhead.  Look for a significant development in the Isreal/Iran conflict in relatively short order (1-2 months).

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