US moves F-16 fighter jets from Germany to UAE

US moves F-16 fighter jet squadron from Germany to UAE amid Iran tensions
2 min read
17 November, 2020
A squadron of US fighter jets have made their way from Germany to the UAE.
The F-16 squadron flew from Germany to the UAE [Getty-file photo]
US fighter jets were transported from Europe to the UAE last week amid heightened tensions with Iran, defence media reported on Monday.

A detachment of F-16s from the US Air Force's 480th Fighter Squadron flew from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany to Al-Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi, according to United Press International.

"The deployment of the 480th Fighter Squadron demonstrates the U.S. Air Force's agility and CENTCOM's commitment to allies and partners to bolster security and stability in the region," UPI reported Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, 9th Air Force commander saying in a statement.

"While deployed, the unit will conduct a wide range of missions, including combat operations and training with joint and regional partners, enhance the unit's overall readiness and return to [U.S. European Command] better prepared to support future operations," Guillot said.

There was no direct mention by CENTCOM of the reason behind the move, but UPI stated that Al-Dhafra is a hub for surveillance of activities in the Gulf region, particularly Iranian military movements.

It came after a detachment of US F-35 returned from the UAE to their home base in Utah.

The movement comes amid heightened tensions between the Tehran and Washington, with reports that US President Donald Trump last week considered strikes on a nuclear facilities in Iran.

Senior officials "dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike", warning him that such an attack could escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of his presidency, The New York Times wrote.

The most likely target of such a strike would have been Natanz, where the IAEA reported that Tehran's "uranium stockpile was now 12 times larger than permitted under the nuclear accord that Mr Trump abandoned in 2018", three years after it was signed in a bid to curb Iran's nuclear capabilities. 

The decades-long rivalry between Iran and US intensified under President Trump, notably after Washington pulled out of a nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018 and enforced tough sanctions on the country.

The two countries came close to war following the January assassination of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

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