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The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed a theatre security package (TSP) comprising A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft and airmen from the 355th Fighter Wing (355th FW) to the Royal Air Force Lakenheath, UK, to train with NATO allies in new environments and cultures.

During the five-day training, the 355th FW pilots and maintenance crews practised several different missions, including low altitude tactical navigation, dissimilar air combat manoeuvring, helicopter escort, basic surface attack and the UK joint terminal attack controller coordination.

The training was designed to strengthen interoperability and demonstrate US commitment to the security and stability of Europe.

TSP detachment commander major Ben Rudolphi said: "The 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron pilots have spent most of their lifetime in the Barry Goldwater Ranges, (Arizona), with good weather conditions.

"The training was designed to strengthen interoperability and demonstrate US commitment to the security and stability of Europe."

"Coming to Europe has tested their close-air-support abilities while working in unfamiliar airspace with foreign controllers and less-than-ideal weather. Overall, they will be more confident and capable pilots."

TSP maintenance superintendent senior master sergeant Nathan Kerr said: "We’ve gotten to see firsthand what conditions and limitations other maintainers work through on a daily basis, and that has given us the experience to be able to do likewise."

The A-10s were deployed out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, US, as part of a TSP in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. They were training out of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, with both US and German Air Forces before their visit to RAF Lakenheath.

The airmen will continue to train with other Nato allies across Europe, advancing their combat readiness while training in varying conditions and cultures over the next few months.

Operation Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued US commitment to the collective security of Nato and to enduring peace and stability in the region, in the wake of Russia’s role in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.


Image: A 355th FW A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft flies with two F-15C Eagle fighters at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, UK. Photo: courtesy of Jim Haseltine.