US fighter jets sent to help protect Turkish airspace: Pentagon
AA photoThe first six of 12 U.S. Air Force F-15 jet fighters have arrived at Adana’s İncirlik Air Base to conduct combat air patrols in Turkish airspace at the request of its government, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook has said.
Six F-15C Eagle jet fighters, which were designed to perform air-to-air duties, arrived at the İncirlik base in the southern province of Adana on Nov. 6, after the Turkish government requested them to secure the sovereignty of its airspace, Cook told reporters on Nov. 10.
He added that these six aircraft were part of a total of 12 F-15C Eagle jet fighters that would be sent to Turkey.
Stating that the request had come on the heels of the incursions the U.S. saw by Russia, Cook said the fulfillment of the request by the U.S. reflected “both our commitment to ensure the safety of our NATO ally and our commitment to degrade and ultimately defeat the [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] in Iraq and Syria.”
Cook said the U.S. Air Force would also soon deploy F-15E Strike Eagle jets, known for their high capability in ground attacks, to the İncirlik base as part of the U.S.-led coalition’s effort to combat ISIL. He did not share the number of the jet fighters or when they would be deployed.
“Beyond air operations, we continue our dialogue with Turkey to evaluate options on the most effective means of countering ISIL, including along its borders in a manner that supports Turkey’s security and regional stability,” Cook said.
The U.S. presence in Turkey includes U.S. personnel recovery assets and manned and remotely piloted aircraft already conducting counter-ISIL missions from İncirlik, Cook said.
Daily Hürriyet has reported that Turkey demanded the two types of fighter jets to better combat Russian jets flying within Syrian territories, in case such an attack comes from the Russian aircrafts.
The F-15E Strike Eagles share resemblance with the SU 30 type Russian fighter jets. F-15E jets are also aimed to be used in ISIL targets.