US air force set for major exercise over East Anglia

U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, England

U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, England, fly along-side a 100th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker near the North Sea Picture: Senior Airman Benjamin Cooper - Credit: Archant

American aircrews are set for a 48-hour combat exercise which will include some night flying over our region.

The 48th Fighter Wing and 100th Air Refueling Wing will be taking part in manoeuvres from April 23 - 25.

During this period, communities in East Anglia and the surrounding regions may see and hear aircraft taking off, landing and travelling between RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall and training ranges over the North Sea.

'The men and woman who serve here are always ready to fly, fight and win for our nation, the United Kingdom and our allies,' said Col Will Marshall, 48th Fighter Wing commander.

'To maintain that level of readiness, we have to train for operations in all conditions, and that includes flying at night.'

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The US military said overland flying would be limited as much as possible between sunset and sunrise.

Exercises provide aircrew and support personnel stationed at Lakenheath and Mildenhall with the experience needed to maintain a ready force capable of defending the NATO alliance.

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'This exercise is incredibly important to our collective ability to respond to contingencies in the African and European theaters,' said Col Christopher Amrhein, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander.

'We are very thankful for the support we receive from the communities surrounding the bases, because without that support, we would be unable to train to maximum effect and assert ourselves as strategically forward-based assets in the UK.'

The exercise does not include plans for low-altitude flying in East Anglia or the surrounding regions during established quiet hours. All training will be conducted in accordance with Ministry of Defence and UK airspace regulations.

'We know it's unusual for our neighbors in East Anglia to hear our aircraft flying throughout the night, and we will continue to minimize the impact of our training program however possible,' Col Marshall said.

'On behalf of our fighter wing, I'd like to thank everyone for their understanding and patience during this short period of important training.'

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