WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has moved a cluster of F-22 stealth fighters to its major facility in Qatar, almost two months after the Pentagon issued orders to beef up U.S. military assets to offset purported threats from Iran.
It is the first time t F-22 Raptors have been deployed to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement. The planes “are deployed to Qatar for the first time in order to defend American forces and interests in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility,” Central Command said.
The fighters had been requested in May. After the Pentagon touted non-specific but credible threat” from Iran. In response, the Pentagon advanced the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier force and added Patriot anti-missile batteries, along with increasing the number of personnel and Marine amphibious units.
Last week the Pentagon started switching out personnel and material in the Persian Gulf area to keep the current high level of readiness to buffer any threats from Iran.
An amphibious assault group led by the USS Boxer reached the Persian Gulf region on Monday, the Navy said. That group will replace the one centered around the USS Kearsarge, which had been in the region since April. The USS Boxer contains the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and a combat helicopter squadron.
The deployments mean that the Navy has 28,000 personnel deployed to the Persian Gulf region, the most anywhere. Numbers for the other service branches were not available.