Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has approved the deployment of Patriot missiles to the Middle East in response to a growing threat from Iran, according to Reuters. The U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity declined to discuss how many Patriot batteries were approved.
READ: Pompeo in Iraq as Iran Moves Ballistic Missiles in Persian Gulf
The move comes in response to the detection of Iran’s deployment of missiles on boats in the Persian Gulf in recent days. It was possible the type of missiles that were being transported were also capable of being launched from small vessels.
Two B-52s were deployed to U.S. Central Command in Qatar from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana in a further show of force as tensions rise with Iran. The Stratofortresses touched down Thursday evening local time, making a total of four to the region.
#B52's touched down today at Al Udeid Air Base, as part of the #Bomber Task Force defending U.S. forces and interest in the region.https://t.co/u8VSkLeefL@usairforce @DeptofDefense @CENTCOM @US_Stratcom @AFGlobalStrike #USAF #AirForce #Aircraft #Aviation pic.twitter.com/zrje0XH8dL
— US AFCENT (@USAFCENT) May 10, 2019
Two had already been sent to CENTCOM from Barksdale’s 20th Bomb Squadron, with support from two KC-10s, from Joint Base McGuire-Dix in Lakehurts, NJ. “Bomber Task Force is deployed here to defend American forces and interests in the region,” Cent Comm tweeted.
The bombers were deployed with the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group this week in response to “very, very credible” intelligence that Iran was preparing to attack U.S. forces or interests in the region.