Liberty Wing maintains friendship, trains with Swedish Air Force
Swedish Air Force crews participated in a week-long squadron exchange program with the Liberty Wing concluding Nov. 18.
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Conrad, 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot, (left) checks aircraft forms as Swedish Air Force Capt Fredrik Bergstrom, 211th Fighter Squadron, watches prior to take-off, Nov. 17, 2011. This is Bergstrom's first time ever in a foreign aircraft.Members from the SAF and the 48th Fighter Wing trained together to increase their interoperability and gather experience with foreign aircraft.
2 photos: U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Conrad, 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot, (left) checks aircraft forms as Swedish Air Force Capt Fredrik Bergstrom, 211th Fighter Squadron, watches.
Photo 1 of 2: ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Conrad, 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot, (left) checks aircraft forms as Swedish Air Force Capt Fredrik Bergstrom, 211th Fighter Squadron, watches prior to take-off, Nov. 17, 2011. This is Bergstrom's first time ever in a foreign aircraft.Members from the SAF and the 48th Fighter Wing trained together to increase their interoperability and gather experience with foreign aircraft. Download full-resolution version
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - (left to right) U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Conrad, 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot, and Swedish Air Force Capt. Fredrik Bergstrom, 211th Fighter Squadron, go over preparations before take-off as Senior Airman Francisco Lumbreras, 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant dedicated crew chief assists Bergstrom with gear Nov. 17, 2011. This is Bergstrom's first time ever in a foreign aircraft. Members from the SAF and the 48th Fighter Wing trained together to increase their interoperability and gather experience with foreign aircraft.
2 photos: U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Conrad and Swedish Air Force Capt. Fredrik Bergstrom go over preparations before take-off as Senior Airman Francisco Lumbreras assists Bergstrom with gear.
Photo 2 of 2: ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - (left to right) U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Conrad, 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot, and Swedish Air Force Capt. Fredrik Bergstrom, 211th Fighter Squadron, go over preparations before take-off as Senior Airman Francisco Lumbreras, 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant dedicated crew chief assists Bergstrom with gear Nov. 17, 2011. This is Bergstrom's first time ever in a foreign aircraft. Members from the SAF and the 48th Fighter Wing trained together to increase their interoperability and gather experience with foreign aircraft. Download full-resolution version
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Conrad, 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot, (left) checks aircraft forms as Swedish Air Force Capt Fredrik Bergstrom, 211th Fighter Squadron, watches prior to take-off, Nov. 17, 2011. This is Bergstrom's first time ever in a foreign aircraft.Members from the SAF and the 48th Fighter Wing trained together to increase their interoperability and gather experience with foreign aircraft.
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - (left to right) U.S. Air Force Maj. Mike Conrad, 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot, and Swedish Air Force Capt. Fredrik Bergstrom, 211th Fighter Squadron, go over preparations before take-off as Senior Airman Francisco Lumbreras, 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant dedicated crew chief assists Bergstrom with gear Nov. 17, 2011. This is Bergstrom's first time ever in a foreign aircraft. Members from the SAF and the 48th Fighter Wing trained together to increase their interoperability and gather experience with foreign aircraft.

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, ENGLAND  -- A Swedish JAS-39 Gripen jet takes off from the Royal Air Force Lakenheath flight line followed directly by an F-15 Eagle. The two aircraft engage in simulated combat to train and learn from each other.

Swedish Air Force crews participated in a week-long squadron exchange program with the Liberty Wing concluding Nov. 18.

The 493rd Fighter Squadron "Grim Reapers", operating the F-15C Eagle aircraft, acted as hosts for the Gripen fighters and their crew. The 492nd Fighter Squadron "Madhatters" and 494th Fighter Squadron "Panthers", operating the F-15E Strike Eagle  also participated in the training.

"I thought the training was a huge success and to work with our sister wing from Sweden was outstanding," said Capt. Mike Culhane, 493rd FS C-flight commander. "We executed our mission along with the Swedish pilots seamlessly. We were very impressed with the Gripen; it's a very capable aircraft."

For the Swedish pilots it was a great opportunity to learn and fly in a different location.

"It's really good for our new guys to be in a new environment and see how things work at another base, a whole other country," said 2nd Lt. Jonas Eriksson, Swedish Gripen pilot.

The training centered on air-to-air exercises between the American F-15s and Swedish JAS-39s to gain experience with dissimilar aircrafts. Some of the training consisted of basic fighting maneuvers against the F-15s and large force employments scenarios.

"The aim for us is to improve our interoperability and to fly against aircraft different than ours," said Lt. Col. Joergem Marqvardsem, Swedish Air Force 211 commander and pilot. "For most of our pilots this is the first time flying against F-15s, so the training was superb in attaining that experience."

The exercises also provided an opportunity for allies to come together and form friendships.

"U.S. Air Forces in Europe is important to Sweden, so the main thing with this training is to continue the long lasting friendship between our two nations," said Maj. Lars Karlsson, Swedish Air Force 211 Squadron project officer. "We are very pleased and impressed with the hospitality, resources and support we received from the 48th Fighter Wing and want to return the favor by inviting them for training to our wing in Sweden next time."
 

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