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USAF supports premier RAF exercise

An F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron flies over RAF Lakenheath, England, Aug. 17, 2018. The squadron sent F-15E Strike Eagles to support Typhoon Warrior, the Royal Air Force’s premier air combat training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

An F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron flies over RAF Lakenheath, England, Aug. 17, 2018. The squadron sent F-15E Strike Eagles to support Typhoon Warrior, the Royal Air Force’s premier air combat training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

RAF LAKENHEATH, England (AFNS) -- The U.S. Air Force’s 492nd Fighter Squadron sent several F-15E Strike Eagles to support the Royal Air Force’s premier air combat training exercise, Typhoon Warrior, Aug. 14-23, at RAF Coningsby, England.

The squadron’s participation provided a valuable training experience for RAF personnel, allowing them to study best practices integrating with U.S. platforms, officials said.

“As long-standing allies on operations, it is critical for the RAF to understand how best to work together with U.S. assets,” said RAF Squadron Leader James Fordham, 29 Squadron. “Working with the 492nd Fighter Squadron is a fantastic opportunity for the Typhoon Qualified Weapons Instructor Course and wider Typhoon force.”

The RAF’s Typhoon QWIC served as the cornerstone of the training, with a focus on defensive and offensive counter-air operations, dynamic targeting, air interdiction, close air support and joint personnel recovery. Exercise staff at RAF Coningsby coordinate annual fighter, tanker and various support participation from RAF Lakenheath, Mildenhall, Cobham, Spadeadam and Scampton, to provide Typhoon FGR4 aircrews with the best training available.

"With the Typhoon Force expanding, integrating new weapons and developing new capabilities, QWIs have to be at the top of their game; working with our U.S. allies is one of the ways we reach, and maintain that standard," Fordham said.

For the 48th Fighter Wing, Typhoon Warrior allowed F-15E aircrews an opportunity to leverage their skill and knowledge with RAF aviators, while sharpening air interoperability tactics for potential contingencies.

“It is a huge honor to participate in the Typhoon Warrior,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Eric Joachim, 48th Operations Support Squadron chief of wing weapons. “As threats to the security of our two nations continue to morph, it is vitally important that we advance our techniques, tactics and procedures to counter them.”

Integrated exercises such as Typhoon Warrior increase the level of camaraderie within the fighter community, serving as just one example of the U.S. and U.K.’s unwavering commitment to collective defense, a unique and enduring principle that binds U.S. and RAF airmen together.

“RAF and United States Air Force fighter pilots are kindred spirits,” Fordham said. “The camaraderie between RAF and U.S. fighter pilots pre-dates the formation of the (U.S. Air Force), and is as strong as ever today."

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