U.S. Air Force Deploys F-16s to Poland

The aircraft assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, will conduct air policing missions of NATO’s eastern flank.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Rachel Reuber, 480th Fighter Generation Squadron crew chief, places a ladder for the pilot on an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Powidz Air Base, Poland, on June 3, 2023. The presence of U.S. service members in Poland plays a vital role by boosting and assuring operational readiness. [Credit: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Allison Payne]

Four U.S. Air Force F-16s have been deployed to Poland in support of security along NATO's eastern flank.

The F-16 Fighting Falcons are assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and began operations at Powidz Air Base, Poland, on Tuesday.

They replaced four F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing based at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, the U.S. Air Force said. The F-15Es have been conducting NATO air policing missions since November.

"Operating from forward locations allows U.S. Air Force airmen to live, train, and operate alongside European counterparts while enabling NATO’s collective defense capabilities," U.S. Air Forces in Europe & Air Forces Africa said in a statement. "This capability is critical for a timely and coordinated response, if and when called upon."

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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