Lakenheath F-15Es swap Alaska F-22s on NATO’s Eastern Flank

  • Published
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

ŁASK AIR BASE, Poland – Royal Air Force Lakenheath’s F-15E Strike Eagle fighters from the U.S. Air Force’s 48th Fighter Wing are scheduled to begin deterrence operations at Łask Air Base, Poland, November 29, as part of a scheduled aircraft rotation in support of the U.S.’s forward fighter presence along NATO’s Eastern Flank.

As part of U.S. European Command’s plan to bolster collective defense posture and Allied integration, the Strike Eagles will take over the fighter mission from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s 3rd Wing.  The 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron has been executing NATO’s Air Shielding mission with F-22 Raptors since their initial arrival in the European theater on July 27.  The F-22 fifth generation fighters are scheduled to return to Alaska after a successful rotation early next month.

The Polish air base offers U.S. forces the infrastructure and opportunity to operate closer to Allies and Partners supporting a range of missions along the Eastern Flank and through the Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions.  The close cooperation between coalition forces enhances interoperability and collaboration.

While conducting deterrence activities along NATO’s Eastern Flank, the 90th EFS also conducted missions in support of U.S. national defense priorities.  The fifth generation fighters executed multiple Agile Combat Employment movements and partnership building events with Allies across Europe. 

The ACE concept enables the fielding of advanced capabilities at forward operating locations in coordination with Allies and Partners.  The F-22 stealth fighters executed this expeditionary capability during NATO’s Steadfast Noon exercise in The Netherlands, throughout the Arctic High North with Norway, and into the Eastern Mediterranean Sea region while operating out of Greece.

The F-15E Strike Eagles provides dual-role mission platform capable of executing air-to-air and air-to-ground operations.  The fourth-generation fighters have an extended history of integrating with Allied and Partner forces across Europe, including previous rotations of RAF Lakenheath F-15C Eagles and Seymour-Johnson F-15E Strike Eagle fighters at Łask AB to support Eastern Flank deterrence operations.

The 492nd Fighter Squadron’s F-15E Strike Eagles, also known as the Bolars and the Madhatters, will continue to provide a forward presence for U.S. Air Forces in Europe in support of the NATO coalition upon departure of the F-22 Raptors.

Coverage of U.S. European Command’s support to NATO throughout Eastern Europe is available on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service at:

For media interested in engagement opportunities, please contact USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs as +49 06371-47-6558 or email or