Critical Air Force TRAINING Underway – Look What They’re Doing!
(USNewsBreak.com) – The United States Air Force recently expanded its ability to reach into the Arctic Circle with a collection of new planes in Alaska. A total of 54 fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighters now reside at Eielson Air Force Base in the center of the state. The two full squadrons of leading-edge technology join the same number of F-22s stationed farther south at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The impressive array projects a strong presence for America in the furthest reaches of the north and allows pilots to train for some of the harshest conditions on Earth.
Why Is the Arctic So Important?
The Arctic Circle is a vast area many people consider uninhabitable frozen tundra. In reality, seven countries have territories inside the circle. Anywhere in the north that sees one 24-hour day of sunlight on the summer solstice and the same length of darkness on its winter counterpart qualifies as the arctic. Russia, Canada, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Greenland all have land that qualifies, according to Geology.com.
With changing weather patterns and melting polar caps, the entire area is a hotbed of commerce. There are potentially tens of billions of barrels of oil, a wealth of undiscovered rare-earth metals, and other opportunities for both military and space applications. Countries both on the circle and some that aren’t — such as China — are working diligently to be a part of what may be hiding under the permafrost.
New shipping routes through the region add to Russia’s dominance in the circle. An article published by the Department of Defense points out the country’s reliance on the area, mostly for hydrofluorocarbons, because it provides about a quarter of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Training in the Arctic Circle
In order for the US military to properly prepare for the prospect of confrontational issues with countries in frigid regions, training is imperative. Troops transitioning from warmer weather climates to cold, difficult conditions have to adjust their physiological norms to drops in temperature few humans experience first-hand. A pilot training for operations in extreme conditions has to have adequate survival skills for unusually difficult environments.
With this in mind, pilots have been training in Alaska so they can handle the harsh conditions of the Arctic. According to a report from Business Insider, the Air Force has a larger presence in the Arctic than any other military branch. During an Air Force Association event last week, Col. David Berkland said that August and February are vastly different in Alaska, and that winter can present an “ominous environment” for planes.
Air Superiority Is Imperative
As the arctic region develops, establishing a powerful presence and ensuring the security of American interests is of the utmost importance. The stockpile of F-35s is an example of how influential the area’s well-being is to the military. The base now represents the largest contingent of US stealth fighters in the world. The air force will use the stronghold to extend its range and work in cooperation with all other branches of the military, most notably the Coast Guard, to ensure stability in the polar region.
While the US doesn’t rely on the Arctic for revenue nearly as much as Russia, it is a strategically critical area for the missile defense system that stretches from Clear, Alaska all the way to Greenland. Ongoing space operations, such as monitoring and controlling satellites in a polar orbit, also present a crucial reason to protect American interests there.
With tensions elevated across the globe, US forces need to work harder than ever to stay ahead of the game.
Copyright 2022, USNewsBreak.com