The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed its first European theatre security package (TSP) of F-15C Eagles to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, near Plovdiv in Bulgaria.
As part of the development, a troop of 200 Airmen of the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron arrived in Europe, where they will fly with Nato allies and support Operation Atlantic Resolve (OAR).
USAFE-AFAFRICA commander general Frank Gorenc said: "These 200 Airmen and 12 F-15s, led by the Florida National Guard and comprised of Airmen and equipment from several National Guard units, provide a strategic symbol as they represent the United States’ commitment to European security and stability."
OAR is a demonstration of continued US commitment to the collective security of Nato and to enduring peace and stability in the region, USAF stated.
The ANG has deployed to Europe as a TSP for the first time. However, the USAF has deployed Fighter squadrons to the Pacific since 2004.
Gorenc added: "The mission of the Bulgarian Air Force is to guard and protect the sovereignty of Bulgarian airspace.
"The men and women of this TSP look forward to working with you to further our collective defence."
In February this year, the USAF deployed 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to improve interoperability with its Nato allies. The A-10 Thunderbolt will be accompanied by 300 airmen and support equipment.
This deployment was the first of the several TSPS that the US is scheduled to position in Europe as part of OAR.
Image: USAFE-AFAFRICA commander general Frank Gorenc walks with the Bulgarian Air Force commander major general Rumen Radev. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / senior airman Gustavo Castillo.