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Photo of F-35A Lightning II aircraft landing.

Cutting-edge F-35A train with eastern NATO allies.

Lightning Over Europe

July 2017, Number 08.03

“On April 25, 2017, two U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters touched down at Ämari Air Base in Estonia. Three days later, two other F-35As arrived at Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria. The planes were part of the first training deployment to Europe for the new fifth-generation fighters. The multirole F-35 platform can perform missions traditionally carried out by several specialized aircraft, such as air-to-air combat, close air support, surveillance and reconnaissance. The four planes were among eight that began the deployment by flying from Hill Air Force base in Utah to the Royal Air Force (RAF) base in Lakenheath, England.

These new planes with advanced stealth technology can be used in training exercises with allies and partners, helping to integrate with NATO infrastructure and enhance interoperability. The deployment shows the United States’ commitment to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty — the defense of all members of the Alliance. “This deployment clearly demonstrates our nation’s contribution to the security and collective defense here in Europe,” said Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the U.S. European Command, while welcoming the Joint Strike Fighters’ arrival at RAF Lakenheath...”

Excerpt from the per Concordiam Staff, “Lightning Over Europe,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 8, No. 3, 2017: 60-63.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.