Tag Archives: Air National Guard

US F-15s to train over Finland

In  May, US F-15 Eagle fighter jets will perform joint training with Finnish Air Force F-18 Hornets in the skies over Finland, the ministry of defense in Helsinki confirmed to Airheadsfly.com on Tuesday 10 February. It marks the first time the US and Finland work together in a large scale military exercise.

The F-15s likely are part of a Theater Security Package  (TSP) such as the ones the US sent to Europe in 2015 also. Then, the fighter jets also took part in various military exercises, although they did not venture into Scandinavia.

Russia

The US pilots and ground crew will be based at Kuopio-Rissala airbase, home to Finnish Air Force F-18s. The exercise runs between 9 and 22 May and should largely play out in the skies over Lapland and eastern Finland, close to neighbouring Russia.

See our report on last year’s US Air National Guard TSP to Europe.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: Positive rate of climb… (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Swamp Foxes in Poland

The Polish Airbase of Lask has been home to Polish F-16s for quite some time. This June F-16s from the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing join their Polish counterparts in bilateral training. The US F-16s deployed to Europe on 28 May as part of an ‘aviation detachment’, as the Air National Guard calls it.

The South Carolina F-16s are perhaps better known by their ‘Swamp Foxes’ nickname., and usually based at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, SC. The unit also brought aircraft in the relatively new ‘Have Glass’ colour scheme, recognizable by the darker grey colour.

Bilateral Polish-US air force training has taken place since 2012. US F-16s from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany and Aviano Air Base in Italy have previously deployed to Lask.

Also among extra US assets in Europe now, are twelve US Air Force A-10C Warthogs and twelve Air National Guard F-15C Eagles.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): The Swamp Foxes on the flightline at Lask (Image © Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder / South Carolina Air National Guard)

(Image © Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder / South Carolina Air National Guard)
(Image © Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder / South Carolina Air National Guard)
(Image © Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder / South Carolina Air National Guard)
(Image © Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder / South Carolina Air National Guard)
(Image © Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder / South Carolina Air National Guard)
(Image © Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder / South Carolina Air National Guard)
(Image © Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder / South Carolina Air National Guard)
(Image © Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder / South Carolina Air National Guard)

Press Play: Riding the clouds, fighting the Eagle

Every now and then a video pops up that is worth its own space at Airheadsfly.com. On Tuesday 2 June, the Dutch ministry of Defense published gear footage of a Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16 pilot sharing the sky with a US Air National Guard F-15 Eagle, but also exchanging some simulated hostilities during Dissimilar air combat training (DACT).

The video was made earlier this Spring, when twelve F-15 Eagles of the Florida Air National Guard’s 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed to Leeuwarden airbase in the Netherlands as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. A story on that – also with video! – is here.

The Eagles later took part in exercise Frisian Flag (see here and here for more vids) and are currently deployed to Bulgaria.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image & video footage: Sharing the sky. (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)

Rewinding Frisian Flag

Wether they involved noisy fighter jets or not, for years and years military exercises in European passed by largely unnoticed by the general public. The same can’t be said for exercises held over the last few months, which saw themselves at the focus of the new’s attention. Recent military exercises such Frisian Flag 2015 at Leeuwarden airbase in the Netherlands, are as much about training as about a show of force.

The US has been eager to show its airborne teeth in Europe, sending Theater Security Packages of A-10s and F-15s to Europe – packages that were previously reserved for ‘other’ hot spots around the globe and earlier this year caught many off guard in Europe.

The F-15s took part in Frisian Flag 2015, along with Dutch and Polish F-16s, Spanish and Finnish F-18s plus German Typhoons.  A show of force as seen by many – and in these times, that’s one objective ticked off. Let’s rewind that in this quality film by professional filmer Vincent Kok of Imaging the Light.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top) A US Air National Guard F-15 at Leeuwarden.
(Image © Dennis Spronk)

More US Eagles into Eastern Europe

The twelve US Air National Guard F-15 Eagles that deployed to the Netherlands in April, have now arrived in Bulgaria. The F-15s left Leeuwarden on Thursday 7 May and arrived at the Bulgarian airbase of  Graf Ingnatievo later that day, joining six more US F-15 Eagles already present there.

The move to Bulgaria was announced earlier in April, as the F-15s were taking part in Dutch air power exercise Frisian Flag. The F-15s are part of a Theater Security Package (TSP) and will stay in Europe for five more months. Together, they form the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, made up of aircraft and personnel from Air National Guard units in Florida, California, Massachusetts and Oregon.

The F-15s already present in Bulgaria are part of the Louisiana Air National Guard’s 159th Fighter Wing. They arrived here mid April, to take part in joint Bulgarian exercise Thracian Eagle.

One of the Florida Air National Guard aircraft, seen here at Leeuwarden in April. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
One of the Florida Air National Guard aircraft, seen here at Leeuwarden in April. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The flightline at Graf Ignatievo in Bulgaria, filled with F-15s already present. (Image © US Air National Guard / Master Sgt. Toby M. Valadie)
The flightline at Graf Ignatievo in Bulgaria, filled with F-15s already present. In the background are Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrums. (Image © US Air National Guard / Master Sgt. Toby M. Valadie)

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): The F-15s flew from Leeuwarden to Bulgaria on Thursday (Image © US Air Force / Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo)