Hill AFB F-35s deploy to Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions near Ukraine
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Six F-35 Lightning II jets from Utah’s Hill Air Force Base that deployed to Germany last week have now “forward-deployed” to NATO’s eastern flank near the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea the Air Force said Wednesday.
A news release said the aircraft moved from their original European operating location at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
They will support NATO’s “Enhanced Air Policing mission from forward operating locations at Estonia’s Amari Air Base, Lithuania’s Siauliai Air Base, and Romania’s Fetesti Air Base,” the release said.
Several of our F-35A Lightning II's are currently forward deployed from Spangdahlem Air Base to NATO's eastern flank in order to support enhanced air policing missions.
These missions enhance NATO's defensive posture and prove we can provide F-35A capabilities rapidly. pic.twitter.com/nNP9BkLrYa
— 388th Fighter Wing (@388fw) February 24, 2022
“We are facing a dynamic environment, and the deployment of F-35s to NATO’s eastern flank enhances our defensive posture and amplifies the Alliance’s interoperability,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Force in Europe – Air Forces Africa commander.
Hill AFB sent planes, pilots, maintenance crews, and support personnel from the active-duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter wings on February 16.
“Our airmen and aircraft were ready to go. I’m thankful for their hard work, and all of the support we received from Hill Air Force Base to get out the door,” said Col. Craig Andrle, 388th Fighter Wing commander last week. “This deployment proves we can provide our Air Force the capabilities of the F-35A anywhere in the world rapidly.”
The news release said, “The F-35 provides unprecedented communication capabilities, command and control, and lethality for the combined and joint force. These capabilities afford NATO leaders the flexibility to project power and assert air dominance in highly contested environments.”
Hill AFB is home to 78 of the F-35A Lightning IIs.
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