Aviano F-16s training from Lakenheath

The 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk is currently hosting 14 F-16 Fighting Falcons of the 510th Fighter Squadron (FS) ‘Buzzards’. The 13 F-16CMs and a sole F-16D arrived in the UK on Thursday, March 3 though didn’t start flying sorties until Tuesday, March 8.

Among the locations the 510th FS has been using for training include RAF Donna Nook air weapons range in Lincolnshire and the MOD Aberporth range in Cardigan Bay off Wales as well as a number of low flying areas.

One of the 14 F-16s from the 510th FS currently deployed to RAF Lakenheath. This Fighting Falcon is wearing the Have Glass V scheme which reduces the aircraft’s radar cross section. Imagery by USAF/SSgt Gaspar Cortez / SSgt Dhruv Gopinath
One of the 14 F-16s from the 510th FS currently deployed to RAF Lakenheath. This Fighting Falcon is wearing the Have Glass V scheme which reduces the aircraft’s radar cross section. Imagery by USAF/SSgt Gaspar Cortez / SSgt Dhruv Gopinath

Key.Aero approached RAF Lakenheath for details of the training being undertaken by the ‘Buzzards’ and how long the unit is staying at the Suffolk base. The 48th Fighter Wing provided the following statement: “F-16s assigned to the 510th Fighter Squadron from Aviano Air Base, Italy are conducting a regularly scheduled training event at RAF Lakenheath. This training, which concludes next week, is an opportunity for the F-16 pilots and maintainers to integrate with other military aircraft and personnel assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing; F-15Cs, F-15Es and F-35s.” It continued: “US Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa’s multi-capable airmen and equipment must be prepared to support a variety of missions with our joint, Allied and NATO partners in theatres of operations worldwide. Training events such as this one, provides an opportunity to conduct a variety of training missions like dissimilar air combat training activities and manoeuvres and to demonstrate operational proficiency. No live weapons will be used.”

A ‘Buzzards’ F-16 taxies past one of the resident F-15Es at RAF Lakenheath.
A ‘Buzzards’ F-16 taxies past one of the resident F-15Es at RAF Lakenheath.