Monday 11th of April marked a historic moment in history for the United Kingdom and the United States Air Force as for the first time F-22 Raptors of the 95th Fighter Squadron from Tyndall air base Florida deployed to RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk to conduct training with European based aircraft of the USAF and NATO partners. The 5th generation multi-role fighter aircraft will also forward deploy from the U.K to NATO bases to maximise training opportunities prove commitments to NATO allies and deter any actions that destabilise regional security.


In total 12 F-22 Raptors have deployed to work primarily with British based McDonnell Douglas F-15 aircraft and Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons. Colonel David Eaglin, vice commander of the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, said joint training was essential as the allies work together to repel foreign threats. “We are grateful that the UK allow us the opportunity to train here and from a US perspective it’s a chance to get combat ready while showing a commitment to the defence of our nations,” he said. The Typhoons involvement will provide a new challenge for the F-22 pilots, who have previously been predominantly training against other US aircraft.


In August 2015 the United States Air Force deployed four F-22s to Europe for the first time ever as part of the European Reassurance Initiative a Pentagon effort designed to allay European partners’ fears about Russian aggression in the region. The F-22’s Deployed to Spangdahlem airbase, Germany where they then forward deployed to other NATO partner nations to show case the new rapid deployment concept which involves moving a package of F-22s and supporting logistics to any forward operating base and have the 5th generation multi-role fighter jets ready for combat operations within 24 hours of deploying with a small logistics footprint.


Air Commodore Ian Duguid, commander of the RAF’s Typhoon Force, said the Raptor’s visit also worked in the opposite direction, with RAF jets getting a rare experience. “We have a very close relationship with the US Air Force here in the UK, and particularly at RAF Marham.“This visit will help that as we train with them,” he said.
Pilots and ground crew from the 95th Fighter Squadron have accompanied the aircraft to the United Kingdom from Tyndall Air Force Base and are due to carry out training missions until mid may with a select number of aircraft forward deploying to other European airfield in support of NATO training exercises.