U.S. Air Forces in Europe & Air Forces Africa
Published July 26, 2019
U.S. Air Force Special Tactics Operators and logistics readiness Airmen fuel an F-35A Lightening II at a forward arming and refueling point mission with USAFE aircraft during Operation Rapid Forge at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, July 25, 2019. Special Tactics is a U.S. Special Operation Command's tactical air and ground integration force, and the Air Force's special operations ground force, leading Global Access, Precision Strike, Personnel Recovery and Battlefield Surgery operations on the battlefield. The Air ForceÕs newest operational 5th -generation fighter, the F-35A Lightening II, provides unmatched lethality, survivability and adaptability to the warfighter. Operation Rapid Forge involves NATO territories in order to enhance readiness and improve interoperability between U.S. allies and partners in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rose Gudex)
U.S. Air Force fighter and mobility aircraft forward deployed to bases in Estonia, Latvia, and Poland on July 25, 2019, for the final day of Operation Rapid Forge. Rapid Forge is a U.S. Air Forces in Europe-sponsored training event designed to enhance interoperability with NATO allies and partners, improve readiness and sharpen operational capabilities.
At Ämari Air Base, Estonia, F-35A Lightning II fighter jets, F-15E Strike Eagles and MC-130J Commando II aircraft and special tactics operators conducted rapid refueling of the fighters by passing fuel to the F-35A Lightning II and F-15E Strike Eagle fighter aircraft directly from the MC-130J. Rapid Forge continues to demonstrate the Air Force’s ability to rapidly deploy in smaller, more efficient and agile teams to austere and potentially contested areas, making our activities unpredictable to adversaries while maintaining strategic predictability to our allies and partners.
At Lielvarde AB, Latvia, and Powidz AB, Poland, F-15E Strike Eagles and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft conducted rapid refueling and rearming using inert munitions. This also demonstrates the U. S. Air Force’s capability to execute refueling missions in austere environments. 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.
Any opportunity our forces have to fly in different airspace with multiple NATO allies or partners is unique in itself. We are ready to respond anywhere, at any time, and that is thanks, in part, to the diverse training opportunities afforded by our forward presence in Europe. Forward locations enable collective defense capabilities and provide the U.S. and NATO the strategic and operational breadth needed to deter Russia and assure our allies and partners.
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 FW, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Both squadrons of fighter jets are operating out of Spangdahlem AB, Germany. 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 AW deployed to Ramstein from Dyess AFB, Texas.
For more information, contact U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa Public Affairs at +49 06371-47-6558 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.