The US Air Force (USAF) 335th Fighter Squadron’s (FS) eight F-15E Strike Eagles have participated in a lead wing and agile combat employment (ACE) exercise.

The ACE exercise also saw the participation of airmen from the 4th Mission Support Group (MSG) and 4th Maintenance Group attached to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (AFB).

The exercise took place at Kinston Regional Jetport on 11 January.

Air Combat Command (ACC) commander-general Mark Kelly said: “Lead wings are essentially an aggregation of capabilities across our Air Force in a construct that can lead and go into any location on the globe – arriving as a previously trained and certified team and then fighting as a previously certified team.”

According to the USAF, the 4th Fighter Wing (FW) is designated as a lead wing and creates deployed teams comprising a different range of Air Force operational capabilities.

These teams include a wing headquarters command and control force element, and one or more mission generation force elements. An air base squadron force element is also included.

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Seymour Johnson AFB also exercised ACE elements, besides exercising the lead wing structure.

The ACE elements enable 4th FW units to forward deploy as teams into several non-traditionally used locations.

4th FW commander colonel Kurt Helphinstine said: “The ability for the 4th FW to operate from different locations with varying levels of capacity and support ensures airmen and aircrews are postured to respond across the spectrum of military operations.

“Exercising ACE ensures our aircraft and airmen are ready to protect and defend the United States when called upon.”