US decided to pit the F-22 against the Su-35 over the oil wells

After repeated dangerous encounters between Russian Su-35 Flanker-E+ fighter jets and US Air Force jets in Syria, Washington has sent its best F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to the Middle East. A statement from the US Central Command [CENTCOM] said the F-22s had already landed at US air bases in the Middle East.

Selling F-22s in the Mideast? It's still illegal and expensive
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The published photos and footage show at least two F-22 Raptor aircraft. Two F-16 Fighting Falcons landed with them. The fighters are armed with AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), AIM-9X Sidewinders, GBU-39 /B Small Diameter Bombs, and Joint Direct Attack Precision Munitions [JDAM].

CENTCOM emphasizes in its press release that the F-22 is the best fifth-generation fighter in the world. According to the announcement, this is due to the combination of stealth, aerodynamics, and functionality. The 94th fighter squadron will operate in the area. In addition to the American military, coalition forces also participate in it. The 94th Fighter Squadron operates both in the air and on the ground.

The reason

This deployment is significant, the Pentagon said. This follows numerous warnings issued by CENTCOM this year. They claimed that Russian warplanes had repeatedly flown dangerously close to US fighter jets and had also flown over US strategic bases such as Al-Tanf and collected vital intelligence.

Iran buys 24 Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E fighters produced for Egypt
Photo credit: UAC

CENTCOM says the potential for escalation or miscalculation is increasing. It is the “unprofessional behavior of the Russian Air and Space Forces [VKS]” in the region that is the reason for such concerns on the part of CENTCOM.

The incidents

In April of this year, the US Air Force released two videos showing dangerous intercepts of Russian Su-35s in two different episodes. The first video shows an unknown American aircraft and the second an F-16 Viper. One video, captured on April 18, said a Russian Su-35 fighter jet on an intercept mission approached a U.S. aircraft at a distance of about 500 meters.

US-made F-16 in the sky over the Black Sea: predator or prey?
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Dangerous convergence of the Su-35 of the Russian Air Force with the American fighter General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. On April 2, 2023, a Russian Air Force Su-35 performed an unsafe and unprofessional interception of an American F-16 aircraft. The plane was operating in airspace that, according to Russian-American protocols, is controlled by coalition forces.

CENTCOM chief Lt. Gen. Alexus Grinkiewicz, who is responsible for leading U.S. military operations in Syria and 20 other countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, said: “This is a very good situation for us to see any miscalculation. professionalism that I have never seen in the Russian Air Force.”

Earlier, this general also indicated that since March 1, Russian servicemen have violated the terms of the agreement more than 60 times. He stressed that Russian fighter jets, which are supposed to fly at least five kilometers from US planes, had at least twice flown within 100 to 150 meters of US Air Force pilots in recent months.

Deployment of the F-22

This is not the first time the United States has deployed its F-22 Raptors as a show of force after the Russian Aerospace Forces engaged in “maneuvers and intimidation.”

F-22 Raptor has a suitability and cyber survivability issue
Photo credit: Pixabay

The US Air Force has already deployed its F-22 Raptor on the eastern flanks of NATO member countries to counter the aggressive maneuvers of the fighters of the Russian Air Force, writes Reuters. In April, the Pentagon deployed 12 F-22 Raptors to Powidz Air Base in Poland to protect NATO’s eastern flank. Later on May 8, US Air Force F-22 fighter jets were deployed to Estonia to support NATO-led air defense operations in the region.

This is probably why the Americans sent their best stealth fighter to the Middle East specifically to counter Russia. However, not only the Russian factor intervenes here – Iran is gradually becoming a powerful opponent.


At a recent summit, Lt. Gen. Alexus Grinkevich said Tehran’s supply of drones and missiles to Moscow was a possible reason Russia was returning the favor to Iran. I.e. according to the officer, Russia may perform intelligence tasks related to requests from Iran. “Iran intends to receive a package of weapons from Russia as a return favor,” is the general opinion among the coalition partners.

Egyptian Su-35 Flanker-E fighters are going to Iran in March
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The most dangerous and deadly of these may be the Russian Su-35 Flanker-E+ aircraft, which has long been a headache for the United States. Last month there were reports in the media that the first batch of Russian fighter jets will be sent to Iran very soon.

The 24 Su-35 fighter jets – undoubtedly Russia’s most technological combat aircraft – will significantly strengthen the Iranian air force, which has not been replenished with a single new military aircraft in the twenty-first century.

Iran is waiting for its fighters

United States Air Force Fifth Generation Fighter jets, as part of the Allied Air Command’s Eastern Flank Air Cover mission, on May 8, 2023, deployed a maneuver combat deployment at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, to deter aggression in the Baltic Sea region.

The Pentagon believes that Russia and Iran will quickly complete the deal, which was first officially announced in March 2023. According to reports in the Western press, Iranian pilots are preparing to receive new fighter jets from at least September 2022. A day earlier, a day later -late – in any case, this will happen and lead to the appearance of the Su-35 in the Middle East. And this circumstance causes serious concern in the Pentagon.

Foreign Su-35s might take off from a Mideast hidden air base
Photo credit: MWM


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