U.S. Air Force F-35A, F-15E and C-130J aircraft continue to conduct rapid refueling, rearming at forward locations

  • Published
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

U.S. Air Force fighter and mobility aircraft forward deployed to bases in Latvia, Estonia, and Poland on July 23, 2019, as part of Operation Rapid Forge. The exercise involves forward arming and refueling at bases in the territory of NATO allies in order to enhance readiness and improve interoperability.

At Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia, F-35A Lightning II fighter jets, F-15E Strike Eagles, and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft conducted rapid refueling and rearming using inert munitions. 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 Ă„mari AB, Estonia, 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-15E Strike Eagles directly from the MC-130J. This also demonstrates the unit’s capability to execute refueling missions in austere environments.

At Powidz AB, Poland, F-15E Strike Eagles and C-130J Super Hercules continued to conduct forward refueling and rearming using inert munitions. 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 usafepao.pao@us.af.mil or usafepa.pastaffdutyofficer@us.af.mil.