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48th Fighter Wing in action

USAFE aircraft based at RAF Lakenheath train all year round in all weathers. Alan Kenny was there on December 3rd.


HH-60G PAVE Hawk 88-26109 with the 56th Rescue Squadron practices approaches at RAF Lakenheath during sunset.

RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk is a busy base. It is home to the 48th Fighter Wing which consists of four flying squadrons. They are the 56th Rescue Squadron (56 RQS) operating the HH-60G PAVE Hawk Combat Search and Rescue helicopter, the 492nd Fighter Squadron (492 FS) with the F-15E Strike Eagle, 493rd Fighter Squadron (493 FS) with the F-15C/D Eagle and 494th Fighter Squadron (494 FS) with the F-15E Strike Eagle. It is quite rare to get a completely quiet day at the base as there is usually aircraft up, even if only a couple.

Some aircraft from the 492th FS are currently out in Israel for exercise Blue Flag, so the base squadron wasn't at its full complement of Strike Eagles. However, it was still busy with multiple launches of F-15s from the remaining 492nd FS, along with 494nd FS and 493rd FS. A HH-60G PAVE Hawk from 56 RQS was busy performing approaches and hovers.

F-15E 91-0324 belongs to the 494th Fighter Squadron 'Panthers'. The 494th FS can be distinguished by the red band on the tail.

An F-15C awaits his turn to apply power as his lead-ship roars down the runway in full afterburner.

F-15D 84-0044 is one of two D models assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron.

Gear up! 91-0321 tucks his undercarriage beneath him for another approach.

F-15E Strike Eagle 91-0317 from the 492nd FS comes into land after three practice approaches.

F-15E Strike Eagle 91-0317 retracts the landing gear and powers up for a go around.

The F-15C Eagles based at RAF Lakenheath are assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron and are nicknamed the Grim Reapers.

The HH-60G PAVE Hawk is used for CSAR or Combat Search and Rescue. They are based at RAF Lakenheath and often work throughout the UK. They now have USAF RESCUE written on the tail boom.

For this approach the commander puts the HH-60G into a nose high angle as he slowly nears the ground. The PAVE Hawk balanced on the rear wheel and then took off again.

The concentration on the commander's face is evident here as he approaches runway 24 while the sun is sitting above the horizon.

The sun heads towards the horizon at the end of another day at RAF Lakenheath.

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Filed Under Military Aviation Features, Airshows Features.


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1 Comment

Another Guest (from Australia) said on the 12-Jul-2015 at 10:35

@ Alan Kenny

Great photos of these beautiful F-15s.

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