The US Air Force deploys F-35 Lightning II aircraft to Bulgaria

The US Air Force (USAF) has for the first time deployed two F-35 Lightning II aircraft to Bulgaria to enhance the region’s ability to host the aircraft for future deployments and operations.

The US Air Force (USAF) has for the first time deployed two F-35 Lightning II aircraft to Bulgaria to enhance the region’s ability to host the aircraft for future deployments and operations.

The aircraft, supported by 20 airmen, arrived from the UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF) base in Lakenheath, England, where they were originally sent to take part in a training deployment.

On 15 April, as well as the RAF and other Nato allies, eight USAF F-35As were sent to Lakenheath to train alongside F-15Cs and F-15Es from the 48th Fighter Wing,

US European commander and Nato’s supreme allied chief for Europe army general Curtis M. Scaparrotti said: “This deployment clearly demonstrates our nation’s contribution to security and collective defence.

“It shows we are serious about territorial integrity and will defend our interests with the most advanced capabilities our nation has to offer.”

The F-35A pilots and supporting airmen will be able to participate in familiarization training within the European theater while reassuring allies and partners of US dedication to the enduring peace and stability in the region, according to USAF officials.

The aircraft and airmen deployed to Bulgaria are from the Air Force’s 34th Fighter Squadron and the Air Force Reserve’s 466th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

The forward distribution of F-35As throughout Europe is anticipated to maximise opportunities for training while also strengthening the Nato alliance.

The fighter jet is said to provide precision attack capability against current and emerging threats.

 

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