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RAF warn of US military night flying in 48-hour 'readiness exercise'

PUBLISHED: 13:03 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:17 02 October 2019

U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Senior Airman Benjamin Cooper

U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Senior Airman Benjamin Cooper

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US military aircraft have taken to Norfolk airspace as part of an 48-hour readiness exercise.

The new D-Day commemorative livery on an F-15 fighter jet at RAF Lakenheath. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodThe new D-Day commemorative livery on an F-15 fighter jet at RAF Lakenheath. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

The Liberty Wing from RAF Lakenheath along with the 352nd Special Operations Wing are conducting the exercise, to last 48 hours.

RAF Lakenheath, in Suffolk, tweeted that its 48th Fighter Wing would be carrying out "increased flying sorties" between October 2 and October 4 as part of training exercise to ensure its air and ground teams are a "ready and capable force".

That could mean US military aircraft, including F-15 fighter jets, flying across East Anglia and being more visible than usual.

A statement from the air base said that "communities in East Anglia and the surrounding regions may see and hear US aircraft taking off, landing and transiting between RAF Lakenheath and training ranges over the North Sea several times between sunset and sunrise".

Two RAF Tornado GR4 jets. Picture: David Jones/PA WireTwo RAF Tornado GR4 jets. Picture: David Jones/PA Wire

Although RAF Marham is not taking part in they exercise, a spokesman from that base said: "aircraft noise may be noticeable in parts of Norfolk."

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Aircrew have pledged to limit nighttime activities as much as possible but say there might be limited flying between sunset and sunrise.

However Lakenheath said exercises such as this were crucial to "provide both aircrew and support personnel stationed at RAF Lakenheath the experience needed to maintain a ready force capable of ensuring the collective defence of the Nato alliance".

"The airmen assigned to RAF Lakenheath are prepared to fly in the defence of our nation, the United Kingdom and our shared allies 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Col William L Marshall, 48th Fighter Wing commander.

"We know the call could come day or night, and training like this helps us maintain our ability to respond under any conditions.

"We know how lucky we are to be in this country, and we're grateful for the opportunity to live and serve alongside the people of East Anglia.

"We recognise these night flights are unusual and will continue to do what we can to minimise the impact of our training programme.

"Thank you for your understanding and patience while we complete this short period of critical training."

-Training is to be conducted in accordance with Ministry of Defence and UK airspace regulations. Anyone with aircraft-related flying concerns should contact the MoD at SWK-lowflying@mod.gov.uk

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