If confirmed, the key to this news, tactically, is that the F-15 can strike ground targets in the middle east in minutes from Jordan rather than hours from the F-15’s normal bases in Europe.
We have recently reported on the Biden Administration sending two Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) and a Marine Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) to the waters near Gaza:
- U.S. Navy Brings Massive Military Power to the Gaza Area of Operations
- U.S. Military Power Expands in Gaza Area of Operations – An Update
- U.S. Military Power In Middle East Grows
From our most recent update:
We previously reported on the decision to move the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) off the coast of Gaza despite the Ford CSG being near the end of its normally 6-month deployment to the European Command Area of Responsibility (AOR), which encompasses the Mediterranean Sea, among other areas….
We next updated our U.S. military force picture to report that the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) CSG was deployed from Norfolk, Virginia on October 14 and ordered to the coast of Gaza….
The USS Bataan (LHD-5) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with over 2,000 U..S. Marines, has also been re-directed from the Persian Gulf to the coast of Gaza….
The Bataan ARG also includes the USS Carter Hall and USS Mesa Verde, two other amphibious assault ships with embarked marines (approximately 2,500 U.S. Marines total in the Bataan ARG)….
As we summarized:
If you’re keeping track, that is two nuclear powered aircraft carriers with over 100 tactical aircraft and nine accompanying warships, each of which likely has Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles in hot standby in missile launchers, and three amphibious assault ships with more tactical aircraft and 2,500 U.S. Marines aboard.
We also reported on the deployment of U.S. anti-ballistic missile forces to the area, including a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery as well as additional Patriot battalions “throughout the region.”
As part of the initial Ford deployment extension and re-direct to the Gaza area, we also reported that “the U.S. Air Force announced deployment to the region of squadrons of F-15, F-16 and A-10 fighter aircraft,” although details about where those aircraft were to be stationed were sketchy.
Now it is being reported that at least some of the F-15 precision strike aircraft that have deployed to the Gaza AOR are basing at the Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan.
THE U.S. MILITARY has deployed thousands of troops to the Middle East since Hamas’s surprise October 7 attack on Israel but refuses to disclose the military bases or even host nations of the deployments — not for security reasons, but to spare the host nations embarrassment.
One such base, the Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan, welcomed several new F-15 attack jets last month, the same aircraft used to bomb facilities used by Iranian-backed militias in Syria at least twice since October, following attacks on U.S. troops by groups supported by Iran.
But the Intercept notes that the Pentagon has refused to confirm that presence of F-15s in Jordan:
Despite the hostilities, the Pentagon has declined to acknowledge the base or the military buildup taking place on it for political reasons….
Government records reviewed by The Intercept, along with open-source data, reveal that Muwaffaq Salti continues to act as a low-key U.S. military base central to growing tensions with Iran.
“The main hub for U.S. air operations in Syria is now Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan, but the American presence is unacknowledged because of host country sensitivities,” said Aaron Stein in a 2021 report by the Foreign Policy Research Institute….
Named after Jordanian Lt. Muwaffaq Salti, a pilot who died fighting the Israeli air force during a conflict involving the West Bank in 1966, it isn’t hard to see why the U.S. government doesn’t want its presence on the air base public. Jordan, a nation home to over 2 million Palestinian refugees, is being rocked by protests opposing Israel’s military operation in Gaza.
The key to this news, tactically, is that the F-15 can strike ground targets in the middle east in minutes from Jordan rather than hours from the F-15’s normal bases in Europe.
The video below explains how, in Afghanistan, F-15 pilots, previously trained in long-range precision strike against enemy command and control infrastructure targets, learned to embrace close air support for friendly ground troops, sometimes in VERY close proximity:
The Israelis fly the F-15 as well:
Backbone of Israeli Air Force
The Israeli's are smart because they choose proven platforms and then make them deadly with locally developed upgrades.
They save lots money doing this. pic.twitter.com/IEh2Z5Ez7v
— Jayess (@Sootradhar) May 12, 2021
In any case, as the Intercept reports:
At the time of this writing, there have been 55 attacks on U.S. service members in Iraq and Syria since October 17, according to the Pentagon, resulting in 59 injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a press conference Monday emphasized how unclear the endgame of the attacks is to the U.S. military.
“It’s been tit-for-tat exchanges and hard to predict, you know, what will happen going forward,” Austin said.
In addition to the F-15s the Air Force is reported to be basing in Jordan, reports indicate that a U.S. AC-130 gunship attacked terrorists that had attacked the al-Assad Air Base in Iraq:
The U.S. military killed several Iran-backed militants in air strikes from an AC-130 gunship in Iraq on Monday night, soon after a nearby American military outpost was attacked by a barrage of rockets, according to a Fox News report.
Two U.S. defense officials told the news network on Tuesday the air strikes hit a vehicle in proximity of the al-Asad Airbase, killing an estimated five to eight militants.
Members of the Iran proxy group had fired multiple rockets at the base on Monday, causing minor injuries and damages, the officials said.
🚨US Army: AC-130 gunship targets attackers responsible for missile strike on Al Assad Airbase, Iraq, resulting in enemy casualties." pic.twitter.com/NIPyKbfcjF
— Sociat USA 🇺🇸 (@SociatUSA) November 21, 2023
Attacking American troops is always a bad idea – doing it with an AC-130 gunship overhead is a really really bad idea. https://t.co/xEjrHD4AWt
— Jim Hendren (@JimHendren1) November 21, 2023
We will keep you updated on the U.S. military presence near Gaza going forward. Stay tuned…DONATE
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