Le Bourget, France As part of an expanding theater security cooperation plan, USAF forces, possibly including the F-22 Raptor, will deploy more frequently to Europe, service Secretary Deborah Lee James told reporters at the Paris Air Show. “I could foresee the day … when the F-22, for example, might rotate in,” James told reporters during a brief meeting at the Paris Air Show. “I see no reason why that couldn’t happen at some point in the future.” US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa boss Gen. Frank Gorenc said USAF has sent temporary duty rotations to Europe for many years, often for several weeks at a time to participate in exercises. But, since the Crimea Crisis, the size and duration of US military deployments have changed greatly. “What’s different now in our contribution to Operation Atlantic Resolve … is our contribution to theater security packages,” Gorenc said. TSPs are six-month rotations of key capabilities, but prior to 2014, “We were not able to get [TSPs] because of other priorities in the world,” he added. This year, USAF has sent two TSP packages, an A-10 deployment and an F-15C rotation. Other initiatives, such as the National Guard’s State Partnership Program, and visiting global strike forces, are serving as a “robust response” to Russian activities, he said.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.