The 48th Fighter Wing hosts a big exercise, integrating joint service as well as 4th and 5th Generation capabilities.
One of the biggest military exercises the 48th Fighter Wing has ever hosted, began on Tuesday Oct. 9, 2018, at RAF Lakenheath, UK.
U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing out of Langley Air Force Base, Virginia along with U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets assigned to Carrier Air Wing One and deployed from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, temporarily deployed to Suffolk to conduct large-force Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT) exercises with the local-based F-15E Strike Eagles and F-15C Eagles.
“This was a perfect opportunity, as this type of exercise is rarely carried out in England or Europe and to bring everyone together to RAF Lakenheath is a tremendous achievement” said Lt. Col. William Wooten, 492nd Fighter Squadron Commander.
The USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75), anchored in Stokes Bay in the Solent off Portsmouth harbour on Saturday, sent eight F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. The carrier-based jets arrived at RAF Lakenheath on Thursday Oct. 4. Six F-22A Raptors, that supported Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria and Iraq arrived at RAF Lakenheath on Oct. 5, on a brief re-deployment before returning home: they were due to fly back to the US but the 48th Fighter Wing contacted Langley AFB to request the Raptors take part in the joint exercise.
In the end, the 48FW was able to gather as many as 40 aircraft per sortie alongside KC-135R Stratotankers from the 100ARW at nearby RAF Mildenhall supporting the exercise above the North Sea.
The aim of the drills is to bring the U.S. Air Force and the Navy together to strengthen there air combat ability, especially in the current climate with Russia flexing its military muscles; the timing was good to put this in place as all components were in the region. So far it is showing to be a complete success.
The exercise will run for approximately two weeks, after which the F/A-18s will return to the USS Harry S Truman off the coast of Scotland and the F-22 Raptors will return back to Langley AFB.
Aircraft that flew during the Media Event we attended on Oct. 11, in order of departures:
Carrier Air Wing One
F/A-18F Super Hornet 166808 / 204 VFA-211 Checkmates
F/A-18E Super Hornet 166823 / 303 VFA-136 Knighthawks
F/A-18E Super Hornet 166840 / 412 VFA-81 Sunliners
F/A-18F Super Hornet 166665 / 210 VFA-211 Checkmates
493rd FS “Grim Reapers”
LN AF 84-010 F15C Eagle
LN AF 84-001 F15C Eagle
LN AF 86-0172 F15C Eagle
LN AF 86-0160 F15C Eagle
27th Fighter Squadron
FF AF 09-0181 F-22A Raptor
FF AF 1st FW Boss Bird F-22A Raptor
Strike Fighter Squadron 11
F/A-18F Super Hornet 166624 / 102 VFA-11 Red Rippers
F/A-18F Super Hornet 166631 / 106 VFA-11 Red Rippers
492nd FS “Madhatters”
LN AF 91-0306 F15E Strike Eagle
LN AF 91-0315 F15E Strike Eagle
LN AF 91-0310 F15E Strike Eagle (This is a 494th FS Jet on loan to the 492nd)
LN AF 96-0202 F15E Strike Eagle
LN AF 91-0302 F15E Strike Eagle
LN AF 91-0318 F15E Strike Eagle
LN AF 91-0317 F15E Strike Eagle
LN AF 96-0205 F15E Strike Eagle
493rd Grim Reapers
LN AF 84-019 F15C Eagle
LN AF 86-0154 F15C Eagle
LN AF 86-0174 F15C Eagle
LN AF 86-0178 F15C Eagle
27th Fighter Squadron
FF AF 94th FS F-22A Raptor
The Aviationist expresses gratitude to Capt. Elias J. Small and the entire 48FW Public Affairs team who were exceptional with their support during our visit at RAF Lakenheath.
All images credit: Stewart Jack