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Six Navy Growler aircraft will support NATO mission in Germany

The Defense Department this week sent six Navy EA-18G Growler jets to Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany to support NATO allies in the fifth week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby made it clear the planes are there to support NATO’s “deterrence mission” and not to engage directly with Russian forces.

"This is in order to bolster readiness, enhance NATO's collective defense posture and further increase air integration capabilities with our allied and partner nations," Kirby said. "These Growlers... are equipped for a variety of missions. But they do specialize in flying electronic warfare missions, using a suite of jamming sensors to confuse enemy radars, greatly aiding in the ability to conduct suppression of enemy air defense operations."

"They are not being deployed to be used against Russian forces in Ukraine," Kirby added. "They are being deployed completely in keeping with our efforts to bolster NATO's deterrence and defense capabilities along that eastern flank."

Kirby acknowledged, however, that the planes expand American options in eastern Europe.

"They are being deployed, as we have said all along, [because] the secretary wants to keep options open," he said.

The planes will be sent with about 240 Navy personnel, including mechanics and pilots.

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