US to bring F-22 fighter jet squadron to the UAE next week
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US to bring F-22 fighter jet squadron to the UAE imminently

US to bring F-22 fighter jet squadron to the UAE imminently

It has already deployed the the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole to patrol the waters of the UAE

Gulf Business

A senior US military official has confirmed that the US will work closely with the UAE to help defend the country against Houthi terrorist strikes.

General Kenneth F. McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), that a squadron of F-22 fighter jets will be deployed to the region imminently. “Over the next week or so, we’re going to bring in a squadron of F-22 fighter jets, the best air superiority fighters in the world. They will work with their UAE partners to help defend the nation. So, we think this is just one friend helping another in a time of crisis,” General McKenzie told UAE state-run news agency WAM on Tuesday.

“Even as the UAE has come under attack, the US has moved quickly and swiftly to help an old friend. We brought a destroyer in a guided-missile destroyer, the USS Cole, which has ballistic missile defence capabilities. It will patrol the waters of the UAE, working closely with UAE air defenders to protect their nation.”

There have been five attacks launched targeting the UAE using drones and missiles since the start of this year. Following the most recent attack on February 2, when the UAE’s Ministry of Defense intercepted and destroyed three hostile drones that had penetrated the country’s airspace, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin spoke with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, where the former pledged to send the USS Cole to Abu Dhabi.

General McKenzie who is on an official visit to the UAE added, “We are happy to see that [the US-built] THAAD [Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system] employed successfully by UAE in the first two combat employments of that system. I know that it sends a strong message of reassurance to everyone in UAE. We will continue to work with UAE to make that system even better in the future.”

General McKenzie, who oversees the US forces in the Middle East, also confirmed that the US is helping the UAE to develop systems to intercept drones. “We are working with our partners here in the region and with the industry back in the US to develop solutions that would work against drones. We would like to work against drones what we call ‘Left of Launch,’ [which means] before they can be launched. You’d like to be able to detect the launch of drones, see them and interfere with their flight. And if you can’t do that, you will certainly be able to shoot them down as they reach their intended target.”

The General praised the UAE’s military and noted, “The UAE has one of the most professional militaries in the region. They’re very well-led, and I think the UAE is a very safe and secure place.” Equally he condemned the terrorist attacks launched by the Houthis on the UAE which has led to the deaths of three civilians and injuries of six others. “The Houthis are behaving in a reckless and responsible manner as they attacked the UAE and they have continued to attack the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

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