Tag Archives: theater security package

U.S. Air National Guard F-15s deploying to Iceland and the Netherlands “to deter further Russian aggression”

Time for another deployment to Europe.

Beginning tomorrow, 12 F-15C Eagles and approximately 350 Airmen and support equipment belonging to the 131st Fighter Squadron, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, and the 194th Fighter Squadron, Fresno Air National Guard Base, California, will deploy to the European theater for a 6-month tour in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The arrival of these F-15s marks the latest iteration of a Theater Security Package (TSP), a temporary deployment from CONUS (Continental US) of a force whose aim is to augment the Air Force presence in a specific region, for deterrence purposes.

The TSP “will conduct training alongside NATO allies and partners as part of OAR to strengthen interoperability, demonstrate the U.S. commitment to a Europe that is whole, free, at peace, secure, and prosperous and to deter further Russian aggression,” according to a USAF release.

The wording with the reference to the Russian aggression is noteworthy.

Interestingly, the F-15s will head to two separate locations to simultaneously: Keflavik, in Iceland, to undertake air policing duties in support of NATO, and Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands.

While at Leeuwarden, the F-15s will also take part in Exercise Frisian Flag.

As done by the TSPs last year, during their six months in theater, the F-15s will also forward deploy to other NATO and partner nations to include Bulgaria, Estonia and Romania.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

Eight U.S. A-10 tankbusters have just deployed to Estonia

Another package of U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack planes has arrived in Estonia.

Eight A-10s and approximately 170 reservists have arrived to Ämari Air Base, Estonia, as part of a flying training deployment in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve on Aug. 22.

The aircraft belong to the 303rd Fighter Squadron, 442nd Fighter Wing, from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and they task is to show “continued commitment to the collective security of NATO and dedication to the enduring peace and stability in the region.”

Supported also by guardsmen from three Air National Guard units, the A-10s will train with their Estonian counterparts for three weeks and will also take part in training with Finnish air forces.

The “Hogs” will also perform low-level flying activity during the deployment.

The U.S. Air Force “tankbusters” have become quite a frequent presence across eastern Europe following the war in eastern Ukraine two years after the last A-10s to be permanently based in Europe left their permanent base Spangdahlem in May 2013.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

Video shows U.S. A-10s conducting austere landing training at an abandoned Warsaw Pact airfield in Poland

US Warthogs Land At An Abandoned Warsaw Pact Airfield in Poland.

US A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft deployed to Europe as part of a U.S. Air Force TSP (Theater Security Package) conducted rough field training in Poland.

Territory of Poland is scattered, besides the highway strips, with old, abandoned Warsaw Pact military airfields which have not been in use since the Cold War.

Since Jul. 20, according to the Air Force Times, the Warthogs from the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron temporarily based at Lask to strengthen the U.S. presence in eastern Europe amid growing tensions with Russia, have practiced landings and operations at Nowe Miasto, where the runway, unused for years, is far from pristine conditions:  not a problem for the A-10 which is practically immune to FOD (Foreign Object Damage) thanks to its engines mounted far from the surface of the runway.

The operations conducted by the American pilots included night operations.

In his interview to Air Forces Times, Lt. Col Ryan Hayde, commander of the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, stated that the operations at the airfield were conducted with the help of the US Special Forces CCT’s (Combat Controllers), who acted as the air traffic control during the exercise, since the airfield has no ATC provided on regular basis.

Interestingly, the Polish Ministry of Defense kept the whole event in secrecy until the news was spread, post-factum by American sources. Even after the event, Lt. Col. Artur Goławski, spokesperson for the Polish General Command of the Armed Forced, denied the operation.

 Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

U.S. A-10 Tank Busters deployed to Poland…again.

Some USAF A-10 “Warthogs” are stationed in Poland.

354th EFS (Expeditionary Fighter Squadron) has deployed again to Poland.

This time the A-10s maintain their presence at the Polish 32nd Air Base located in Łask, near Łódź, in the central part of the country. The aim of their presence, according to the statements made by the base press officer that emerged in a variety of media, is to participate in a joint exercise with the Polish Air Force, within the scope of the Air Force Theater Security Package.

The overall goal of the NATO initiative, undertaken in the light of the Ukrainian crisis, is to reassure the allies of the NATO eastern flank, and to maintain collective defense capabilities.

Earlier on, the Thunderbolts were stationed (temporarily) at the Polish Powidz Airbase. Notably, this time the Warthog detachment is larger (includes 12 examples), and the deployment itself is to be longer, as it is going to last until the end of July, according to the rumors.

It is worth noting that this time the deployment did not get that much media attention, in comparison with the previous presence of the A-10 in Poland. The spotters, who published the photos of the Warthogs online were the first signs of their presence in the region.

The A-10 that are currently stationed in Poland come from the 355th Fighter Wing which is based at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, in Arizona. They have been operating in Mid-Eastern Europe for some time now, visiting Poland, Bulgaria or Romania, participating in a variety of exercises (e.g. the Dragoon Ride operation).

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

U.S. A-10s to perform low level training in Latvia

Low flying Thunderbolts over Latvia.

According to the information released by the Latvian Ministry of Defense, NATO air assets, namely the A-10 Thunderbolts deployed as a part of the Theater Security Package, are going to use the country’s airspace to conduct low-level flying.

The release issued by the Latvian authorities asks the public not to be worried about the low-flying Hogs. The missions are going to take place only on specific, agreed dates and times, starting from Jun. 8, 2015.

The low-level flying is to be carried out outside the firing ranges – this is the reason why the event is so unusual. It was said that the training’s purpose is to maintain and refine the pilots’ skills and combat readiness.

All the information pertaining the operations are going to be available on the Internet. It was already said that the sorties would take place in seven districts, namely: Rūjiena, Smiltene, Aluksne – Gulbene, Balvi – Vilani, Madona – Plavinas, Jēkabpils and Preiļi – Līvāni.

According to the Ministry, the Warthog training operations within the Latvian airspace are a part of the Operation Atlantic Resolve, undertaken by NATO in the light of the Ukrainian crisis. The low-level training operations are going to be organized in a way that will not pose a threat to the public.