The Air Force announced F-15E aircraft arrived in the Middle East on Oct. 13 as the U.S. looks to bolster its position in the region amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas.
The advanced tech of the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s F-15E Strike Eagle will allow U.S. forces to “respond to any crisis or contingency, and if necessary, engage and defeat adversaries,” Air Forces Central said in a statement.
The aircraft were refueled, armed with munitions and flew their first combat sorties immediately upon arrival, the command said on social media.
“The U.S. military is committed to the enduring safety and security across the Middle East,” AFCENT commander Lt. Gen. Alexus G. Grynkewich said in the statement. “By posturing advanced fighters and integrating with joint and coalition forces, we are strengthening our partnerships and reinforcing security in the region.”
The increase in American military assets in the area follows the outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas, which has already claimed more than 4,000 lives, according to the Associated Press. The U.S. State Department said Sunday the number of Americans killed since the start of the war has risen to 30, the AP reported. The U.S. is also aware of 13 missing American citizens.
Arrival of the Strike Eagles comes after the deployment of American A-10 “Warthog” attack planes to the region.
The move also came just ahead of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announcing that he directed the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower and its carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean to join the Ford Carrier Strike Group in offering support to Israel.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media