Tag Archives: RAF Lakenheath

RAF Lakenheath Hosts Large-Force Dissimilar Air Combat Training with U.S. Air Force F-22, F-15C, F-15E and Navy F/A-18E/F jets

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.

LN AF 91-0318 F15E Strike Eagle departs RWY06 on full burners.

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.

FF AF 09-0181 F-22A Raptor departs RWY06.

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

F/A-18E Super Hornet 166840 / 412 VFA-81 Sunliners departs RAF Lakenheath.

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

LN AF 84-001 F15C Eagle launching from RWY06.

27th Fighter Squadron

FF AF 09-0181 F-22A Raptor

FF AF 1st FW Boss Bird F-22A Raptor

FF AF 09-0181 F-22A Raptor lands at the end of its mission.

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

F/A-18F Super Hornet 166624 / 102 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

LN AF 91-315 F15E Strike Eagle 492nd Madhatters.

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

LN AF 86-0174 F15C Eagle taxis back with his air brake up.

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

Six F-22 Raptor jets Have Deployed To RAF Lakenheath, UK

Six U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors have deployed to Europe as part of the European Deterrence Initiative.

Six U.S. Air Force Raptor jets, belonging to the 27th Fighter Squadron and 94th Fighter Squadron, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, have deployed to RAF Lakenheath, UK, on Oct. 8, using radio callsign Trend 11-16.

At the time of writing it’s still unclear whether 6 additional F-22s, expected in the next few days as they return stateside from their deployment to the Middle East to support Operation Inherent Resolve, will remain in the UK along with the other jets (their callsign will be Trend 21-26).

The stealth multirole aircraft that will remain in the UK will be involved in a FTD (Flying Training Deployment) to conduct flying activity with other U.S. aircraft based in Europe as well as regional NATO allies.

According to the official USAF release “while in the European theater, the F-22s will also forward deploy from the U.K. to other NATO bases to maximize training opportunities, demonstrate our steadfast commitment to NATO Allies and deter any actions that destabilize regional security. This FTD is fully funded by the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI).”

One of the Raptors that have deployed to the UK on Oct. 8, 2017. (Image credit: U.S. Air Force).

The last time U.S. F-22s deployed to Europe was in Spring 2016, when the 95th FS completed a historic deployment to RAF Lakenheath with 12 stealth jets in what was at the time the largest Raptor deployment in Europe.

During the deployment, part of their Global Response Force training, the F-22s performed several training sorties (usually two waves were launched each day, one at around 08.00AM, the second in the early afternoon): the Raptors took part in exercise Iron Hand 16-3, conducted air training with all three RAF Lakenheath fighter squadrons and RAF Typhoons.

The F-22 also had the chance to pay visit to some NATO countries: Romania, Lithuania and also performed a flyover for the 100th anniversary of the Lafayette Escadrille in Paris. Last but not least, the F-22s had a chance to practice low-level flying in the famous Mach Loop.

The F-22s landing at RAF Lakenheath on Oct. 8, 2017. (Image credit: U.S. Air Force)

 

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This Cool Footage Shows U.S. F-35A Lightning II Combat Planes Flying Through The Famous Mach Loop For The First Time

The Joint Strike Fighter has flown through the world-famous Mach Loop Low Flying Area for the first time.

The clip below shows F-35A Lightning IIs belonging to the 34th Fighter Squadron, 388th Fighter Wing and the Air Force Reserve’s 466th Fighter Squadron, 419th Fighter Wing, deployed to RAF Lakenheath, UK, from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, enter the Mach Loop LFA (Low Flying Area) in Wales for the very first time on May 2.

The aircraft have arrived in the UK on Apr. 15, for the type’s first overseas training deployment to Europe and since then they have been quite active: along with flying several sorties alongside the local based F-15E Strike Eagles (some of them flown without the Radar Reflectors/Luneburg Lenses – as happened on Apr. 26), they have visited Estonia and then Bulgaria.

In this video by Neilb1940 you can see the aircraft maneuvering at low altitude more or less one year after the F-22 Raptors temporarily based at RAF Lakenheath in support of the European Reassurance Initiative visited the Loop for the first time.

Noteworthy, you can also easily spot the pretty distinctive wingtip vortices generated by the F-35.

The flaperon and wingtip vortices have long been debated: GAO claimed that these could affect the aircraft’s stealth performance; others suggest these visible “tubes of circulating air which are left behind the aircraft’s wing as it generates lift” may make the aircraft more easily picked up visually by an enemy pilot in a WVR (Within Visual Range) engagement even though some pilots have explained that they are not a factor because if you are close enough to see the F-35’s vortices, you are probably close enough to see the jet.

H/T @guidoolimpio for the heads-up

 

U.S. F-35A stealth fighters to move to Estonia tomorrow. Meanwhile, the British Typhoons have arrived in Romania.

Some of the F-35A Lightning II aircraft currently at RAF Lakenheath will forward deploy to Estonia tomorrow. Meanwhile, the first RAF Typhoons have arrived in Romania.

According to information available to the Estonia ERR media outlet, an unspecified number of F-35s will arrive at Ämari air base, Estonia, on Tuesday, Apr. 25.

“The jets will remain in Estonia for several weeks and conduct training flights with other aircraft of the U.S. and allied air forces.”

Eight F-35s and 250 airmen belonging 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, have deployed to RAF Lakenheath recently (beginning with the first section of 6 aircraft on Apr. 15).

The 5th generation multirole combat aircraft have deployed to Europe for the first time in support of the European Reassurance Initiative. As done by the preceding US jets operating in the old continent as part of the so-called Theater Security Packages (TSPs), including the F-22 Raptors and the A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, they will visit various Baltic and eastern Europe airbases “to maximize training opportunities, affirm enduring commitments to NATO allies, and deter any actions that destabilize regional security.”

Meanwhile, on Apr. 24, RAF Typhoons have arrived at Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) airbase near Constanta, in Romania for the first time in support of the NATO air policing mission. The aircraft will provide air policing over the Black Sea from May to September 2017.

According to the UK MoD, 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) consists of 150 personnel drawn from across the RAF, whose mission is to keep the fast jets flying during their four month deployment.

The mission of patrolling the skies along NATO’s eastern border was intensified following the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The arrival of the British Typhoons is the last of a series of measures “to deter a Russian aggression over the Black Sea.

RAF Typhoons arrive at Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) airbase near Constanta, in Romania for the first time in support of the NATO air policing mission. (Image credit: Crown Copyright)

 

Third batch of F-15SA Advanced Eagles delivered to Saudi Arabia via RAF Lakenheath

Delivery of the most advanced production Eagles ever to Saudi Arabia continue.

The first four of 84 new F-15SA aircraft ordered by the Royal Saudi Air Force along with an upgrade package for 68 existing RSAF F-15S jets, arrived at King Khalid Air Base (KKAB) in Saudi Arabia via RAF Lakenheath, on Dec. 13, 2016.

The aircraft, taken on charge by the 55th Sqn, were followed by a second batch of four F-15SAs that arrived at KKAB via Lakenheath in February, and by a third batch of five advanced Eagles that made the usual stopover in UK late on Saturday Mar. 28.

The third batch included: 12-1005/Retro 61, 12-1008/Retro 62, 12-1932/Retro 63, 12-1039/Retro 64 and 12-1047/Retro 65.

The Aviationist’s Tony Lovelock was at RAF Lakenheath and shot the photographs you can find in this post.

Note the tiny U.S. Air Force roundel clearly visible just below the cockpit area.

Derived from the F-15E Strike Eagle, the F-15SA is the most advanced production Eagle ever produced. It is equipped with the APG-63V3 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a digital glass cockpit, JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mouted Cueing System), Digital Electronic Warfare System/Common Missile Warning System (DEWS/CMWS) and IRST (Infra Red Search and Track) system.
Moreover, the “SA” jet is able to carry several air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, including the AIM-120C7 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) and the AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, the AGM-84 SLAM-ERs, the AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) and the GBU-39 SDBs (Small Diameter Bombs) on 11 external hardpoints.

Image credit: Tony Lovelock