F-35 stealth fighters n Europe for training
For the first time since its entry into service, the US Air Force has deployed its new F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet in Europe, and more specifically at the Lakenheath airbase (UK), the United States Air Force Headquarters in Europe (USAFE, announced on Saturday.
A “small number” – at least four, according to the released photos – of F-35A, the conventional take-off and landing version used by the US Air Force arrived Saturday on this base currently equipped with F-fighter and fighter -15, for a deployment of several weeks. It should allow US pilots to train with other European-based aircraft as part of what the Pentagon calls the “Theater Security Package” (TSP), designed to reassure East-European allies, An attitude which has been regarded as aggressive by Russia since the annexation of the Crimea by Moscow in April 2014.
As reported by CNN, the planes belong to the 34th and 466th Fighter Squadrons, based at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, the USAFE said in a statement. This deployment of F-35A – a type of aircraft declared operational last year – was planned for a long time but comes at a time of unprecedented tensions since the end of the Cold War between NATO and Russia, Called “aggressive” by the West.
The Atlantic Alliance and the United States strengthened their military capabilities in eastern Europe by deploying four multinational battalions in Poland and the three Baltic states and an armored brigade of some 3,500 soldiers, including heavy tanks Abrams, Which has to travel between Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.
“This is an incredible opportunity for USAFE airmen and our NATO allies to host this first deployment for F-35A aircraft training,” said the commander of the US Air Force in Europe And in Africa, General Tod D. Wolters, quoted in the statement. “While we (the United States) and our partners are adding this aircraft to our inventory, it is important to train together to be part of a flawless team capable of defending the sovereignty of allied nations.”