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F-35s arrive in Lithuania as Operation Rapid Forge continues

USAF

A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II, assigned to the 421st Fighter Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, takes off at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, July 16, 2019, during Operation Rapid Forge. Rapid Forge aircraft are forward deploying to bases in the territory of NATO allies in order to enhance readiness and improve interoperability. The goal of the operation is to enhance readiness in coordination with U.S. allies and partners in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope)

F-35A Lightning II fighter jets from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings arrived at Siauilai Air Base, Lithuania, today as part of Operation Rapid Forge, along with F-15E Strike Eagles and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Rapid Forge is a U.S. Air Forces in Europe-sponsored training event designed to enhance interoperability with NATO allies and partners, improve readiness, and sharpen operational capabilities.

Fighter and mobility aircraft also deployed to bases in Poland and Estonia today as part of the exercise.

F-15Es and MC-130J Commando II aircraft arrived at Amari AB, Estonia, to conduct refueling operations. C-130J aircraft arrived at Powidz Air Base, Poland.

The ability to operate at forward locations enables collective defense capabilities and provides the U.S. and NATO allies the strategic and operational breadth needed to deter adversaries and assure our allies and partners.

The F-35s are deployed from Hill AFB, Utah. F-15Es are deployed from the 4th FW, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Both squadrons of fighter jets are operating out of Spangdahlem AB, Germany. The MC-130Js are from the 352nd Special Operations Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England, and the C-130Js are from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany, and from the 317th AW deployed to Ramstein from Dyess AFB, Texas.