F-35 deploys to Europe for the first time
his is an incredible opportunity for USAFE Airmen and our NATO allies to host this first overseas training deployment of the F-35A aircraft,” said Gen. Tod D. Wolters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Air Forces Africa commander.
An F-35A Lightning II from the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, lands at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, April 15, 2017. The aircraft arrival marks the first F-35A fighter training deployment  to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility or any overseas location as a flying training deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Eric Burks)
2 photos: F-35 deploys to Europe for the first time
Photo 1 of 2: An F-35A Lightning II from the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, lands at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, April 15, 2017. The aircraft arrival marks the first F-35A fighter training deployment to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility or any overseas location as a flying training deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Eric Burks) Download full-resolution version
F-35A Lightning II's from the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, land at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, April 15, 2017. The aircraft arrival marks the first F-35A fighter training deployment to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility or any overseas location as a flying training deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)
2 photos: F-35 deploys to Europe for the first time
Photo 2 of 2: F-35A Lightning II's from the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, land at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, April 15, 2017. The aircraft arrival marks the first F-35A fighter training deployment to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility or any overseas location as a flying training deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew) Download full-resolution version
An F-35A Lightning II from the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, lands at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, April 15, 2017. The aircraft arrival marks the first F-35A fighter training deployment  to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility or any overseas location as a flying training deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Eric Burks)
F-35A Lightning II's from the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, land at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, April 15, 2017. The aircraft arrival marks the first F-35A fighter training deployment to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility or any overseas location as a flying training deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

F-35A Lightning IIs, Airmen and accompanying equipment arrived at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, today, marking the aircraft’s first overseas training deployment to Europe. 

The F-35As are from the 34th Fighter Squadron, 388th Fighter Wing and the Air Force Reserve’s 466th Fighter Squadron, 419th Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and will conduct air training over the next several weeks with other Europe-based aircraft in support of the European Reassurance Initiative.

“This is an incredible opportunity for USAFE Airmen and our NATO allies to host this first overseas training deployment of the F-35A aircraft,” said Gen. Tod D. Wolters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Air Forces Africa commander. “As we and our joint F-35 partners bring this aircraft into our inventories, it’s important that we train together to integrate into a seamless team capable of defending the sovereignty of allied nations.

As part of the natural progression of the F-35 program, an overseas training deployment has been part of the Air Force’s plan since the F-35A was declared combat capable last year. 

“RAF Lakenheath will be the first overseas beddown location for the F-35A, this deployment allows our pilots and maintainers to learn more about the European operating environment and will improve our interoperability with partners in the region” Wolters added. 

As part of the training deployment, the aircraft will forward deploy to NATO nations to maximize training opportunities, build partnerships with allied air forces and gain a broad familiarity of Europe’s diverse operating conditions. The introduction of the premier fifth-generation fighter to the European area of responsibility brings with it state-of-the-arts sensors, interoperability, and a broad array of advanced air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions that will help maintain the fundamental sovereignty rights of all nations. 

The transatlantic flight for this training deployment was supported by Air Mobility Command and the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England. Multiple air refueling aircraft from four different bases offloaded more than 400,000 pounds of fuel during the "tanker bridge" from the United States to Europe. Additionally, C-17 and C-5 aircraft moved airlift support, moving maintenance equipment and personnel. 

Photos and videos of the deployment are available at https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/usafef35a

For more information, contact +49 (0) 6371-47-6558 or via e-mail at usafepao.pao@us.af.mil. If after duty hours, please call +49 (0) 1624-25-5428 or send an e-mail to usafepa.pastaffdutyofficer@us.af.mil.

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