Military Aviation


The first F-15E to land at RAF Lakenheath

A lot can change at an air base across the years.

In fact as explained by Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs in the article RAF Lakenheath celebrates 25 years of Strike Eagles, Airmen come and go, and deployment locations change, but over the last quarter of a century, one thing has remained constant at RAF Lakenheath: the combat air power projected throughout Europe and Africa from the 48th Fighter Wing’s (FW) F-15E Strike Eagles.

First touching down on the Liberty Wing’s (as the 48th FW is nicknamed) runway Feb. 21, 1992, the F-15E has enjoyed 27 years of flying in East Anglia. The 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons are the only two Strike Eagle squadrons in U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and Air Forces Africa.

Col. Evan Pettus, 48th FW commander, said the 25th anniversary is a special milestone.

“This milestone is a reminder of the breadth and depth of the U.S. commitment to our partners and allies in NATO,” he said. “The Strike Eagle was our Air Force’s most modern machine when it landed at RAF Lakenheath 27 years ago, and it’s been upgraded continuously ever since. Today’s F-15E is far more lethal than ever before.”

F-15s to be complimented by two squadrons of F-35s

While assigned to RAF Lakenheath, the Strike Eagle squadrons have supported combat operations in locations including Iraq, the Balkans, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya, and have participated in exercises at more than 20 nations around the world.

“The F-15E will be with us for years to come, and it will continue to play a key role in ongoing combat operations,” Pettus said. “Soon, RAF Lakenheath’s F-15 units will be complimented by two squadrons of fifth generation F-35s, making the Liberty Wing even more capable of delivering decisive airpower to our nation and its allies.”

This F-15E Strike Eagle was the wing’s new flagship upon its arrival at the 48th Fighter Wing, Feb. 21, 1992.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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