A dozen F-16Cs from the Air Force Reserve Command’s 93rd Fighter Squadron ‘Makos’, part of the 482nd Fighter Wing, based out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, are currently deployed in the UK. The jets arrived at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk, on the evening of May 5, touching down as ‘CUBE 51-56’ and ‘CUBE 61-66’ flights – each comprising six aircraft. The trip across the Atlantic was twice postponed as a result of poor weather.
The F-16s received tanker support from a pair of KC-10As from McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, both of which landed in Prestwick, Scotland. Another pair of aerial refusers, including a KC-135R out of Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York, did not make the transatlantic crossing.
According to the USAF, the latest Flying Training Deployment is to ‘sharpen the air force’s combat readiness and ability to operate from a deployed location, and to strengthen strategic partnerships’. This includes operating alongside Lakenheath’s resident F-15s from the 48th Fighter Wing. The unit is also expected to deploy to other locations in mainland Europe before returning to Lakenheath in time to participate in the base’s D-Day celebrations in early June.
The accompanying images, taken by regular AFM contributor Hywel Evans, were taken in the so-called A5 Pass low-level area in Wales during May 13-15. Located in the Ogwen Valley, the A5 Pass is one of the primary low-level routes used by pilots inbound to RAF Valley in Anglesey.