Strategic value of U.S. located 300 km from border with Russia

The Pentagon turned its gaze to its Erickson airbase in Alaska, which has colossal strategic value for the United States. Despite the harsh weather conditions, it is located only 300 km from the border with Russia.

Strategic value of U.S. located 300 km from border with Russia

As part of the Agile Combat Employment (Agile Combat Employment) military exercise, the US Air Force deployed Alaska-based F-22 stealth fighters to the remote King Salmon airfield, similar to another one – Erickson, which is only 300 km from Russia, the magazine writes. Forbes.

As Brigadier General William Radiff, Deputy Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Alaska, said, operating “from forward operational sites”, such as King Salmon and Erickson, the United States is testing “its strategic flexibility, freedom of maneuver, and the ability to implement proactive and variable actions to meet future challenges”.

According to the general, “flexible combat use” is an important new approach to air warfare. Instead of concentrating fighters on a few large but vulnerable air bases, exposing them to the threat of attack, the US Air Force is building new small airstrips, and also repairing and modernizing old and dilapidated airfields where fighter squadrons can be dispersed.

Scattering fighters across numerous small airbases will bring them closer to the battlefield and make planning more difficult for a potential adversary.

“But in Alaska, the Air Force is just beginning to build new lanes. King Salmon is a good start. When the Air Force resumes operation of the Erickson air base on Shemya Island, it will be possible to truly rejoice. It is not for nothing that the Air Force placed a powerful Cobra-Day early warning radar there. This 15-square-kilometer island is located just 300 kilometers from Russia”, – the article emphasizes.

“American fighters taking off from Erickson airfield find themselves in ideal conditions to intercept Russian warplanes over the cold Bering Sea. But this comes at a price. Erexon Base is a remote, cold and hazy place. Half of the days a year, fog hides a three-kilometer runway”, – Forbes notes.

The Pentagon uses Erickson Air Force Base to conduct combat training or exercises in the harsh cold climates. Recently, Boeing C-17 military transport aircraft landed there, practicing the tasks of quickly transferring missile batteries.

“But for all its shortcomings, Erickson has tremendous strategic value for the US military”, – the newspaper said.

Since 2012, the US Air Force has poured $200 million into lighting for Erickson, King Salmon and another remote airfield on Wake Atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In 2016, the government paid the contractor another 10 million to install new roofs on the hangar and other Erickson buildings

“Not a single American airfield (we are not talking about aircraft carriers) can place fighters in such proximity to Russia”, – the American generals state.

EADaily has already reported that from May 3 to May 14, the US Armed Forces Northern Edge 2021 exercises are being held in Alaska with the participation of 15 thousand troops and 240 various aircraft. According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, Northern Edge is a field exercise conducted by the Pacific Air Force with the support of the Indo-Pacific Command of the US Armed Forces, which is conducted jointly by the Air Force, Ground Forces, Navy, Marine Corps, and the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and its escort ships. 

Recall: according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, “on the one hand, the confrontation with the United States has reached the bottom, on the other hand, deep down there is hope that all people are adults and understand the risks that are associated with escalating further tension”.

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