by Capt. Selena Rodts
U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force fighter and mobility aircraft forward deployed to bases in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia from July 16 to 23, as part of Operation Rapid Forge, a U.S. Air Forces in Europe-led mission to enhance readiness and test our ability to function at locations other than main operating bases. The exercise is designed to enhance interoperability with NATO allies and partners, improve readiness and sharpen operational capabilities.
At Powidz Air Base, Poland, F-35A Lightning II fighter jets, F-15E Strike Eagles, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, and multifunctional Airmen conducted rapid refueling and re-arming using inert munitions. This exercises the Air Force’s ability to rapidly deploy in smaller, more efficient and agile teams to austere and potentially contested areas. Under the multifunctional Airman construct, Airmen are able to perform multiple roles, e.g. weapons loaders could drive a refueling truck, security forces defenders could refuel a jet, and avionics specialists could provide airfield security while also performing their primary duties.
At Siauilai AB, Lithuania, F-15E Strike Eagles, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, and multifunctional Airmen also conducted integrated combat turns, which included rapid refueling and re-arming using inert munitions.
At Ämari AB, Estonia, F-15E Strike Eagles, MC-130J Commando II aircraft, and special tactics operators conducted rapid refueling of the fighters by passing fuel to the F-15E Strike Eagles directly from the MC-130J. This demonstrates the special tactics operator’s and MC-130J aircraft’s capability to execute refueling missions in austere environments.
These forward deployments also allowed aircrews to conduct theater familiarization and demonstrate U.S. commitment to NATO allies and partners through the dynamic employment of our military forces.
The U.S. Air Force is engaged, postured, and ready with credible force to assure, deter and defend in an increasingly complex security environment.
The F-35s are deployed from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill AFB, Utah. F-15E Strike Eagles are deployed from the 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. Both squadrons of fighter jets are operating out of Spangdahlem AB. The MC-130J aircraft are from the 352nd Special Operations Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England, and the C-130J aircraft are from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany, and from the 317th Airlift Wing deployed to Ramstein from Dyess AFB, Tex.
For more information, contact U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa Public Affairs at +49 06371-47-6558 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.