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

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U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 94th Fighter Squadron at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, are scheduled to begin deterrence operations at Powidz Air Base, Poland, April 6, 2023, 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 Raptors will take over the fighter mission from Royal Air Force Lakenheath’s 48th Fighter Wing, who has executed the mission with F-15E Strike Eagles since November 2022.

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.

The F-22 Raptor is a combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing full realization of operational concepts vital to the 21st century Air Force.

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

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