Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Strengthening NATO:US Air Force Sends F-35s to Europe

On 15 April 2017,US Air Force F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters deployed to Europe for the first time,landing at RAF Lakenheath,England,US European Command announced.According to General Curtis M. Scaparrotti,US Army,EUCOM commander and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe:
These aircraft,plus more importantly,the men and women who operate them,fortifies the capacity and capability of our NATO Alliance.*
The warplanes are from the 358th and 419th Fighter Wings out of Hill Air Force Base,Utah.They will train with America's European Allies over a period of several weeks,including forward deployment to maximise training opportunities;strengthen the NATO Alliance;and gain a broad familiarity of Europe's defence operating conditions,EUCOM said.Air Force General Tod D. Wolters,commander,US Air Forces Europe and US Air Forces Africa,added:
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.
EUCOM cited the F-35's state-of-the-art sensors;interoperability;and vast array of advanced air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions as assets that will help maintain the fundamental territorial and air sovereignty rights of all nations.The Lightning II has unprecedented precision attack capability versus current and emerging threats with unmatched lethality,survivability and interoperability,EUCOM pointed out.*
This F-35A mission is part of the Pentagon's European Reassurance Initiative,which was enacted following Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for rebels in Eastern Ukraine.The Initiative is meant to increase the confidence of the NATO Allies in America's commitment to help defend them and deter Russian aggression.*
The number of F-35As involved in the deployment has not been disclosed.Hill AFB has a total of 20 F-35s,which is planned to climb to 78 by 2019.Colonel David Smith,419th Fighter Wing commander,noted that:
This aircraft can collect all kinds of information;give it to the pilot;and we can share that information with our partners.*
Lockheed Martin is prime contractor for the F-35 Lightning II.*
Lockheed Martin (LMT)

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