The Raptors will take over the mission from the F-15Es which were deployed there since last November.
The NATO Allied Air Command confirmed on April 12, 2023, that F-22 Raptors arrived at Powidz Air Base in Poland for a new scheduled aircraft rotation along NATO’s Eastern Flank. This is the second time the F-22s deploy to Europe in less than a year, following the latest deployment from August to December 2022 at Łask Air Base, Poland.
The Raptors are assigned to the 94th Fighter Squadron from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, and replace the F-15E Strike Eagle detachment of the 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath which was deployed at Łask Air Base since November. The Raptor detachment was expected to begin operations on April 6, however the fighters arrived in Europe later than expected.
In fact, as reported by Key.Aero, the aircraft tried to cross the North Atlantic on April 6 and April 7, but for unknown reasons the Atlantic crossing only happened on the third attempt on April 8. Also, there are conflicting reports of whether eight or nine jets completed the journey after a number of the 12 planned (TREND 31 and TREND 41, each supposedly made of 6 Raptors) failed to make the crossing. The duration of the aircraft rotation has not been disclosed.
Certainly not the best quality. But super special to see a group of F-22 flying over your house. This was the 2nd group consisting of 3 aircraft. In contrast to the group in front, they flew at only 27,000 feet and were therefore even better visible during twilight #NLspot pic.twitter.com/rojQPtqX7s
— Ruben Hofs (@rubenhofs) April 13, 2023
The deployment of Raptors in Poland last week was confirmed today by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak in social media:
W Polsce wylądowały amerykańskie myśliwce F-22 Raptor. Jedne z najnowocześniejszych samolotów świata będą współdziałać z polskimi pilotami kontynuując wsparcie na wschodniej flance Sojuszu. pic.twitter.com/juIkXe9rcg
— Mariusz Błaszczak (@mblaszczak) April 11, 2023
As part of U.S. European Command’s plan to bolster collective defense posture and Allied integration, the Raptors will work alongside the Polish Air Force supporting a range of missions in the Baltic and Black Sea regions, according to a short statement released by the NATO Air Command on social medias. The command did not release any photo or other statements about the F-22s since their arrival.
The fifth generation fighters will work alongside the Polish Air Force supporting a range of missions in the Baltic & Black Sea region pic.twitter.com/xNKsuq4ZJ5
— NATO Air Command (@NATO_AIRCOM) April 12, 2023
During the 2022 deployment, the Raptors travelled to various locations across Europe to support exercises, Agile Combat Employment and other multi-national training events, and the same is expected to happen also during this deployment. Should the deployment last until this summer, it is highly probable that the F-22 will take part to Air Defender 2023, one of the largest exercises planned this year.
The German-led, multinational exercise will focus on operational and tactical-level field training, primarily held in Germany, with forward operating locations in the Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia, from June 12 to 23. There will be 23 aircraft types among the approximately 220 participating aircraft, with nearly 100 of these aircraft coming from more than 40 Air National Guard units, marking Air Defender ‘23 as the largest Air Force deployment exercise since NATO was founded.