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Fighter jets take part in air combat training exercises at RAF Lakenheath

PUBLISHED: 17:16 03 November 2018

An F-22 Raptor assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. arrives at Royal Air Force Lakenheath in October. Picture: U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew

An F-22 Raptor assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. arrives at Royal Air Force Lakenheath in October. Picture: U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew

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Pilots from the United States Air Force took part in a number of ‘large-force’ exercises at RAF Lakenheath.

The 48th Fighter Wing, also known as the Liberty Wing, hosted dissimilar air combat training (DACT) at Lakenheath in October.

It saw aircraft such as F-22 Raptors, F/A-18 Super Hornets, F-15 Eagles and F-15 Strike Eagles take part.

DACT exercises bring different types of fighter aircraft from various units together to train for air combat in the same air space.

A spokesman for the US Air Force said: “It was conducted to enhance the professional relationships and improve overall coordination with allies and partner militaries, and demonstrates the US commitment to providing fifth-generation fighter presence in Europe.

“Complete control of the skies allows uncontested operation of joint and coalition air, ground and naval forces.

“Exercises like these demonstrate the US and NATOs’ ability to deter threats, assure allies and demonstrate the ability to employ combat air forces in a timely manner.”

US Navy detachment commander E.P. Hadler said: “We know the capabilities of our own aircraft.

“But if we are going to work as a coalition, it’s important that we know and understand each other’s tactics and try to find out how we can get better.”

Colonel Jason Camilletti, 48th Operations Group commander said: “It’s the opportunity to bring different types of air planes from different squadrons together in the same piece of sky for air combat training.

“It’s the difference between practicing against your own teammates and scrimmaging against your cross-town rivals.”

He added: “In the near future we will see a steady increase in fifth generation aircraft across Europe whether it’s rotational aircraft stopping by for a few weeks like the F-22 Raptors, or permanently assigned F-35 Lightnings at RAF Marham and other future operating locations across Europe, to include here at Lakenheath.

“It is absolutely critical we learn how to best operate together in order to secure the sovereign skies above.

“We must train how we will fight, because when we go into conflict we will not be alone but be part of a much broader team.

“We look forward to future training with more of our NATO teammates.”

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