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F-22 Raptors fly into Lithuania as part of European tour

An F-22A Raptor sits parked on the flightline at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, April 25, 2016. A similar forward deployment also occurred at Šiauliai Air Base Air Base, Lithuania, April 27, 2016. The aircraft will conduct air training with other Europe-based aircraft and will also forward deploy from England to maximize training opportunities while demonstrating U.S. commitment to NATO allies and the security of Europe. The Raptors are deployed from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

An F-22A Raptor sits parked on the flightline at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, April 25, 2016. A similar forward deployment also occurred at Šiauliai Air Base Air Base, Lithuania, April 27, 2016. The aircraft will conduct air training with other Europe-based aircraft and will also forward deploy from England to maximize training opportunities while demonstrating U.S. commitment to NATO allies and the security of Europe. The Raptors are deployed from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

ŠIAULIAI AIR BASE, Lithuania (AFNS) -- A pair of F-22 Raptors and one KC-135 Stratotanker arrived at Šiauliai Air Base on April 27, following a short stay in Romania.

The F-22s, with about 20 supporting Airmen, are from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The KC-135 is from the 100th Air Refuel Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England.

The aircraft and Airmen were welcomed by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė and other distinguished visitors from the Lithuanian government and military.

"This is a demonstration that the United States is honoring its commitments and is ready to protect our region with all the most modern measures," she said in a press conference.

Both F-22s are currently part of the largest deployment of the fifth-generation aircraft to Europe. The deployment is partially funded by the European Reassurance Initiative, which provides support to bolster the security of NATO allies and partners in Europe while demonstrating the U.S. commitment to regional and global security.

"Today's demonstration is part the collective defense and security of our NATO Allies, a commitment that is underscored in President (Barack) Obama's $3.4 billion request for the European Reassurance Initiative," said U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania Deborah A. McCarthy.

The F-22s will briefly stay at Šiauliai AB before returning to RAF Lakenheath, England, to continue their training deployment that ends in May. Before Lithuania, the aircraft visited Mihail Kogalniceanu AB, Romania.

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