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RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby skysearcher » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:32 pm

Yes, I guess the new president and new administration is the wild- card.

In todays stripes article stating the F-35s will in time replace the 2xF-15E squadrons at LK http://www.stripes.com/news/new-facilit ... h-1.448046
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby page_verify » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:36 pm

No mention of the F-35s replacing the F-15s? (Nor any mention of anything being done to support RC-135s either)
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby skysearcher » Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:08 am

Oh that is interesting they've changed the phrasing during the course of the day.
1st edition = F-35s will replace F-15E and C squadrons ... 2nd edition saying the F-35s will operate alongside the '15s. hope second version is the right one....
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby Snoop 95 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:02 am

Last I knew was that the C models would be going, but that the E's would stay alongside the F35's. Wothout the C's there could still then be the 100 based jets the base commander spoke about.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby welshandy » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:43 am

I'm still confused about total numbers. I know a typical USAF Squadron is between 8 & 24 aircraft. The article mentions 2 squadrons of 54 F35's!! I hope that's a typo & it means 27 per squadron 54 in total? The article also seems to imply the C's are staying.

"The U.S. Air Force in January 2015 announced RAF Lakenheath as its first base for the F-35 in Europe. The two squadrons of 54 F-35s will operate alongside two squadrons of F-15E Strike Eagles and a single unit of F-15Cs currently based there."

Then again as already been mentioned, we have the Trump effect to hit :whistle:
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby page_verify » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:46 pm

I wonder if someone's now realised just how much space 5 squadrons of fast jets require and that that's quite a lot....?!
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby Reach1985 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:06 pm

If i remember the initial news on this which must be 2 years ago now was that the F35s would join the two F15E squadrons. If i'm right this was also around the time when there was a question over the C's remaining in Europe (a C squadron was to be 'lost' from either USAFE or pacific in one of the many defence reviews) but then with the heightened tensions with Russia and the introduction of the TSP (Theatre Security Packages) that appeared to be put on hold. It wouldn't have been a good PR move if the 493rd had been dissolved.

But with these recent articles it looks like the F35 introduction has been pushed back by at least a year (and maybe it will move back further) and that is going to make those C models a pretty vintage outfit by the time the F35 arrives.

I suppose its a strategic question that needs to be answered: the C is a pure air-to-air fighter - the F35 does 'everything' (maybe??) and the F15E is a strike fighter (it can fight its way there and fight its way back) - chances are there is never going to be a need for the US to have air-to-air fighters in Europe - especially old ones. Whereas having a 'super base' or hub of strike / interdiction assets makes sense.

In terms of basing (and potential crowding) i suppose it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the USAFE could forward deploy small numbers of jets on a rotational basis (the hub concept) nearer to the 'front line' in Eastern Europe like we have seen with the TSP's - i can't see the US 'building' permanent airbases and permantantly basing sensitive assets that close to Russia). This wouldn't be a million miles away from the old Bentwaters days when at least one A10 squadron would be forward deployed in Germany allowing them to train in the environment that they would have been expected to fight in if the day had come.

Also the helicopters are going (as far as i'm aware) so there's some more room! When are they due to go to Aviano?
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby skysearcher » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:39 am

skysearcher wrote:Who knows how long the Cs will be at LK? I think the C's are now being kept at LK on temporary funding under the European Reassurance Initiative; an Obama administration temporary funding programme designed to mitigate against down-sizing at EUCOM in light of geo-political events in Ukraine and Syria. my understanding is the plan is still for eventual withdrawal of the Cs ?


Hi all

Yes can confirm in DOD budget request for fiscal'17, 493rd being maintained in europe for another year.... after that who knows. Also some money spent upgrading airfileds in eastern europe. I agree the comment this is possibly building up bases in eastern europe as potential forward operating locations, with a view to deploying jets from Lakenheath and Spangdhalem / Aviano on rotation.

http://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/ ... J-Book.pdf

cheers all
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby XWP29 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:54 pm

They are staying on :clap: :clap: Five Squadrons is going to get busy :thumbs:
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby graham luxton » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:02 pm

Doubt if all the squadrons will be there together. Think the 2 F-35 squadrons will have Lakenheath as their main base but will replace 2 of USAFEs F-16 squadrons deploying/rotating to other locations as required, to fill in for the Fighting Falcons eventual withdrawal.
This reminds me of the `Cold War` days when UK based F-100's were routinely rotated to Aviano and bases in Turkey and remember many times when Lakenheath only had 2 Hun squadrons in situ.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby XWP29 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:38 pm

graham luxton wrote:Doubt if all the squadrons will be there together. Think the 2 F-35 squadrons will have Lakenheath as their main base but will replace 2 of USAFEs F-16 squadrons deploying/rotating to other locations as required, to fill in for the Fighting Falcons eventual withdrawal.
This reminds me of the `Cold War` days when UK based F-100's were routinely rotated to Aviano and bases in Turkey and remember many times when Lakenheath only had 2 Hun squadrons in situ.



Reading the Stars and Stripes article suggests that they will be alongside each other. Once the F35's are fully operational that may change. At least the 493rd are here for a few more years by the look of it. The F15-C's are very useful to have around, and out and out fighters still have a role to play yet.
There is a significant amount of construction work scheduled and with the 56th moving that provides some extra space.

Still hoping to see some of all five Sqaudrons Aircraft lining up at the Brandon Road end for take off, even if only for a couple of years.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby paddyboy » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:23 pm

Sounds like 'Fightertown' is coming to East Anglia :lol:

Bring it on :Wow:

Cheers :thumbs:

Paddyboy :clap:
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