Here are first U.S. Air Force F-35As landing at RAF Lakenheath for their first European deployment

Apr 16 2017 - 3 Comments

Six F-35A Lightning II belonging to the 34th FS from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, have arrived at RAF Lakenheath.

On Apr. 15, the F-35A 14-5094/HL, 14-5096/HL, 14-5097/HL, 14-5102/HL, 14-5098/HL and 13-5072/HL arrived at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, for the first overseas training deployment to Europe of the U.S. Air Force’s Joint Strike Fighter.

The aircraft belong to the 34th Fighter Squadron, 388th Fighter Wing and the Air Force Reserve’s 466th Fighter Squadron, 419th Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and will conduct air training over the next several weeks with other Europe-based aircraft in support of the European Reassurance Initiative.

F-35A Lightning II 14-5096/HL from the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, land at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, April 15, 2017.

The transatlantic flight was supported by Air Mobility Command and the 100th Air Refueling Wing, from RAF Mildenhall, England. Multiple air refueling aircraft from four different bases offloaded more than 400,000 pounds of fuel during the “tanker bridge” from the United States to Europe, according to the U.S. Air Force. C-17 and C-5 aircraft moved airlift support, moving maintenance equipment and personnel.

F-35A 14-5097/HL landing into RAF Lakenheath

“RAF Lakenheath will be the first overseas beddown location for the F-35A, this deployment allows our pilots and maintainers to learn more about the European operating environment and will improve our interoperability with partners in the region” said Gen. Tod D. Wolters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Air Forces Africa commander in a USAF release.

Interestingly, as done by USAF combat planes deployed to Europe as part of Theater Security Packages (TSPs), the F-35s will forward deploy to NATO nations to maximize training opportunities, build partnerships with allied air forces and gain a broad familiarity of Europe’s diverse operating conditions.

All the photographs in this post were taken at RAF Lakenheath by The Aviationist’s contributor Tony Lovelock.

The USAF F-35A 14-5102/HL in short final at Lakenheath

 

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  • Uniform223

    This is all fake! The F-35s single engine won’t allow it to fly safely over any meaningful distance. Also the F-35s systems don’t work and are too buggy when it does. It’s too expensive to do anything well. Why does Europe need the F-35? They already have the mighty Typhoon, Rafale, and the Gripen E coming soon. All of which can detect the F-35 by the way. Also stealth is fake and it’s a joke. This all just US military war mongering and lockheed propaganda. Anyone who reports this or mentions this is obviously on lockheed martins payroll…

    Is what all the detractors and people who are still in denial will say. I can’t wait to read or hear about publicly released AARs. European countries procuring the F-35 will finally get a real glimpse of what they are getting. Who knows, after this sales of the F-35 may increase (I’m looking at you Germany).

  • ghostmourn

    Those are incredible pictures of the F-35A, she is really a beautiful aircraft.

  • thanks for the numbers which aren’t in USAF news releases