U.S. Air Force Deploys RAF Lakenheath F-15E Fighter Jets to Middle East

The U.S. Air Force deployed F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets, assigned to 48th Fighter Wing “Bolars” based at RAF Lakenheath in England, to the Middle East.

The deployment was announced by the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) on Twitter.

According to USAFE-AFAFRICA, the deployment was following a request from the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing (332 AEW) for “some airpower”.

The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing’s mission is to generate, execute and sustain combat air and space power across the Levant. The wing is comprised of the 332d Expeditionary Operations Group, 332d Expeditionary Maintenance Group, 332d Expeditionary Mission Support Group, 332d Expeditionary Medical Group, 407th Air Expeditionary Group, 447th Air Expeditionary Group, and 1st Expeditionary Rescue Group.

The USAF Air Combat Command (ACC) activated the 332d AEW in 2002 at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait. The 332d Air Expeditionary Wing helped enforce the no-fly zone in southern Iraq during Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and then went on to participate in Operation’s ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. During Iraqi Freedom, the wing moved to Tallil Air Base, Iraq in 2003 and then to Joint Base Balad, Iraq in 2004 to provide airpower for the combatant commander. The wing participated in Operation NEW DAWN until being inactivated in May of 2012.

In May of 2014, the wing stood back up at an undisclosed location and in May 2016 moved to its current location [undisclosed] in Southwest Asia.

The wing includes a wide array of combat Air Force capabilities including precision strike, aerial refueling, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, space, and combat search and rescue, all in direct support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. The seven groups that make up the Wing are comprised of more than 3,000 total force Airmen who operate across four different countries.

The wing operates F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets, F-16C Fighting Falcon fighter jets, HC-130P Hercules search and rescue aircraft, MQ-9 Predator drones, A-10C Thunderbolt II attack aircraft, and KC-135R Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft as well as HH-60G Pave Hawk combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopters.

U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle
A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle fighter aircraft from the 492nd Fighter Squadron arrives at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia on May 8, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandria Brun)

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