July 31, 2017 (by TSgt. Matthew Plew) - Eighteen F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft and more than 260 Airmen from the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, completed a three-week flying training deployment on July 31.
USAF F-16C block 50 #91-0418 assigned to the 480th FS launches for a sortie in support of a flying training exercise at RAF Lakenheath on July 25th, 2017. Eighteen F-16s and more than 260 airmen from the 52nd FW completed a three-week flying training deployment on July 31st, 2017. [USAF photo by TSgt. Matthew Plew]
Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing and those visiting from the 52nd Fighter Wing worked alongside British Allies during this bilateral training event to enhance interoperability, maintain joint readiness and reassure our regional Allies and partners of the U.S. Air Force's commitment to a safe and secure Europe.
"Our ability to operate as a seamless team is a critical component of what we do. It's the reason we're prepared to defend our nation and allies against any adversary," said Col. John Kent, 48th Fighter Wing vice commander. "We understand the different strengths every Airman and aircraft bring to the fight and use that knowledge to maximize our capabilities. This type of training is essential to interoperability and to our mission."
This FTD not only serves readiness requirements, but also provides an avenue to expand strategic and operational ties.
“We're always on the lookout for valuable training opportunities,” said Lt. Col. Michael Richard, 480th Fighter Squadron commander. “The experience we've received here at RAF Lakenheath only makes us want to seek opportunities like this further down the road.”
These operations facilitate a number of training requirements for both aircrew and support personnel on the ground, and are necessary to ensure a ready and capable force.