The US has quietly begun to deploy its premier F-22 stealth fighter planes to an allied base in the United Arab Emirates, according to a report in Aviation Weekly, which described the move as a message to Iran.
“The United States Air Force has deployed F-22s to Southwest Asia,” service spokesman Capt. Phil Ventura said in a statement. “Such deployments strengthen military-to-military relationships, promote sovereign and regional security, improve combined tactical air operations and enhance interoperability of forces, equipment and procedures.”
According to the report, the F-22 Raptor, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is considered “the most sophisticated fighter in the world,” and the timing of the deployment could serve as a signal to Iran regarding the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear program.
Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. John Dorrian would not specify what the mission of the F-22 would be, nor did he say how many planes were deployed, according to ABC News. Dorrian claimed, however, that the fighter jets posed “no threat to Iran.”
The F-22 Raptors are now stationed at the Al Dafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, approximately 200 miles from Iran and 800 miles from Tehran.