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The development takes place in the context of US-led efforts to build an international coalition that patrols the Strait of Hormuz as tensions with Iran continue to increase dramatically.
F-15E Strike Eagles fighter aircraft of the US Air Force UU. They have joined maritime and surface war drills in the Persian Gulf as tensions with Iran continue to increase, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) reported.
Based at the Al Dhafra air base, United Arab Emirates, and connected to the 336th Expeditionary Combat Squadron, the aircraft are equipped with cluster bombs.
“Its function [of the F-15Es] is to carry out combat air patrol missions over the Arabian Gulf and provide air escorts for warships while crossing the Strait of Hormuz. The F-15E is a double-function fighter designed to perform aerial and land missions air tasks and currently performs operations of the Surface Combat Air Patrol (SuCAP) to guarantee free and open maritime trade in the region.”
According to The Drive, some of the aircraft were equipped with ammunition dispensers with wind correction (WCMD), a boat guided by GPS-assisted inertial navigation system that can carry a variety of cluster munitions. Beyond cluster bombs, it is said that the F-15E carry a pair of AIM 120C medium-range advanced air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) and two Sidewinder AIM 9-X short-range infrared reference missiles.
Existing tensions in the region were further exacerbated in early July when Iran seized an oil tanker with a United Kingdom flag in the Strait of Hormuz weeks after the seizure of an Iranian ship off the coast of Gibraltar.
After the incident, the United States announced that it sought to establish a maritime force, called Operation Sentinel, to strengthen security in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb and the Gulf of Oman in the wake of recent “Sabotage attacks” on the tankers there.
Washington blamed the alleged attacks on Iran, which, in turn, denied the accusations and accused the United States and its regional allies of “warfare” and “false flag operations.”
In line with the US strategy of “maximum pressure” against Iran, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo invited Germany, France and the United Kingdom to the new international coalition, along with Japan, Australia, Norway, Korea South and other countries.
While Berlin refused to participate, London announced its own plans to “set up a European-led maritime protection mission” in response to the capture of the UK-flagged vessel.
Tensions over low heat
Relations between Iran and the United States have been in a downward spiral since May 2018, when President Donald Trump decided to unilaterally withdraw from the Obama-era nuclear agreement with Tehran and restore all sanctions against the Islamic Republic, while threatened to impose secondary sanctions on other countries that do business with Iran.
On the first anniversary of Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement, Iran informed the remaining parts of the treaty (France, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, China and the EU) that it would suspend some of its voluntary commitments, and gave them 60 days to guarantee the Tehran’s interests under the agreement.
In June 2019, tensions that were already burning almost became a direct confrontation when Iran announced that it had shot down an unmanned American spy drone after violating its airspace. The United States insisted that the drone was flying over international waters, while Trump ordered, and abruptly canceled, an air strike at three Iranian sites just 10 minutes before it was supposed to take place.
The president of the USA UU. He explained that he was told that approximately 150 Iranians would have died in the attack, something he considered disproportionate to the loss of an unmanned aerial vehicle. However, he said he had just stopped the strike “so that he would not advance at this time.”