The US military deployed on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, has recently received its largest shipment of ordnance since the bombing of Yugoslavia.
According to an official statement on the website of the United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa, the 86th Munitions Squadron on Ramstein Air Base received approximately 100 containers with a variety of munitions rolled in October.
“This is the largest shipment of its kind since Operation Allied Force, which took place in 1999,” Master Sgt. David Head, 86th MUNS Munitions Operations section chief said, referring to the 78-day Yugoslavia bombing campaign where aircraft flew 900 sorties. “The munitions that we received will be used for future theater operations and the evolving U.S. European Command presence.”
According to Master Sgt. Arthur Myrick, 86th MUNS munitions flight chief, the ordance would be used to support NATO’s European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) and augment the Air Force’s War Reserve Materiel in Europe.
“We’re a major airlift hub for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, so our main job is to get munitions where they need to be on time,” he said. “These are real-world munitions to fulfill real-world objectives. That’s the reason we are downloading these things: to make sure we have the capability to move the fight forward if need be.“
It should be also noted that Ramstein Air Base is among the US miltiary facilities storing its nuclear weapons in Europe.
The EDI is a US-led NATO initiative designed to deter “Russian agression” in Europe. It includes the increase of the US military presence in the region and an expanded number of military drills across the region, including areas near the Russian border.
The complicated US-Russian relations have become even more tense after the Trump adminstration had officially announced that it’s going to withdraw from arms reduction treaties with Russsia. Currently, Washington is withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The fate of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is also under the question. These decisions are creating additional chances of a military escalation in Europe.