Friday, January 13, 2006

Air Force Dispatched Additional Warplanes

Coinciding with increased tensions with Iran over the resumption of illicit uranium enrichment, the U.S. Air Force has dispatched additional warplanes to the region in a not-so-subtle sign, military sources say. An entire wing of F-16s, the Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing based in Fort Wayne, Ind., left for a base in southwest Asia. A wing is usually about 72 aircraft and several hundred support personnel. F-16s and support personnel from the 4th Fighter Squadron of the 388th Fighter Wing based at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, also deployed recently to Iraq. The squadron has 12 F-16s. Both units' F-16s could be used in any military operation to take out Iranian nuclear facilities. A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command Air Forces, which runs air operations in the region, said the F-16 deployment of about 80 jets is part of a rotation and is not related to Iran's uranium reprocessing.