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The US Navy has deployed six EA-18G Growler aircraft, along with a team of 240 aircrew members, pilots and aircraft maintainers to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

The deployment aims to enhance Nato’s readiness and collective defence posture along the eastern flank, as well as increase air integration capabilities between the allied nations.

In a statement, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said: “They are not being deployed to be used against Russian forces in Ukraine.

“They are being deployed completely in keeping with our efforts to bolster Nato’s deterrence and defence capabilities along that eastern flank. The deployment is not in response to a perceived threat or incident.”

Based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington, the EA-18G Growlers belong to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 134.

Equipped for several missions, the EA-18G aircraft specialises in electronic warfare missions to suppress the enemy’s air defence operations.

Kirby added: “As we have said all along, the Secretary wants to keep options open. He is in constant consultations with General Wolters, and as a result of discussions with General Wolters, as well as the German Government, this was deemed to be an additional move that could continue to bolster our deterrence and reinforce our defences on the eastern flank.

“This deployment is a prudent decision to continue to revaluate our force posture on Nato’s eastern flank.”

In 2019, the Growler was also deployed to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet’s area of operations to establish maritime stability and security.