A US Air Force detachment of 12 McDonnell Douglas (MDC) F-15Es and 18 Lockheed Martin F-16s was due to be deployed to Qatar in mid-February to support Operation Southern Watch, the US-led effort to enforce the no-fly-zone over Iraq.

The USAF's 4th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) includes Strike Eagles and F-16s from four US air bases. Represented are active and Air National Guard units. Six of the F-16C Block 50Ds being sent to Qatar will be equipped with Texas Instruments ASQ-213 HARM targeting systems.

The overseas deployment, expected to run for 60-90 days, is the fourth for airborne-early-warning aircraft since 1995, and the second to Qatar.

The concept is to augment existing US forces in a world troublespot within 72h, says Lt Gen John Jumper, deputy chief for air and space operations.

Source: Flight International