The US Air Force (USAF) has concluded the forward deployments to host nation bases in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland as part of Operation Rapid Forge.

The ten-day US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa (USAFE) sponsored training operation came to a close at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, on 25 July.

During the operation, the USAFE deployed aircraft trained in coordination with Nato allies in the Baltics and Poland.

It is part of the US contribution to the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) that is designed to defend Nato allies and promote ‘deterrence in an increasingly complex security environment’.

Operation Rapid Forge is aimed at enhancing the readiness of US Armed Forces based in Europe to assure Nato allies, and operational capabilities.

The mission involved exercises to improve interoperability with Nato partners.

Participating assets from the USAF include F-15E Strike Eagles from the 4th Fighter Wing (FW) and F-35A Lightning II from the 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS). The C-130J Super Hercules aircraft also took part in the operation.

US Air Force 4th FW commander colonel Donn Yates said: “Rapid Forge is developing interoperability between fourth and fifth-generation aircraft, F-35A (Lightning II) and F-15E (Strike Eagle) and it is also rapidly projecting airpower into the theatre using amazing capabilities that we have and then being able to test and experiment with command and control, in accordance with a flexible mindset.”

Furthermore, Operation Rapid Forge also provided an opportunity for the USAF to assess its ability to operate in an austere environment.

Yates added: “The USAF had been looking to explore its ability to deploy a light and lean force to rapidly stand up a C2 facility anywhere in the world.

“This ability prevents US forces from being restricted to a fixed site while demonstrating we are a credible and capable competitor with any adversary.”

The F-15E Strike Eagles and MC-130J Commando II aircraft participated in refuelling operations, while Strike Eagles and C-130J aircraft conducted refuelling and rearming using inert munitions.