Spangdahlem F-16s deploy to the Middle East

Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcons from the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) 480th Fighter Squadron (FS) ‘Warhawks’ at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, deployed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on November 12.

The USAF announced the deployment to Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE on November 16, adding that the multi-role fighters and associated personnel deployed “as an instrument of Dynamic Force Employment.” This detachment of 480th FS-operated F-16s have replaced a squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighters, which have since returned to the US.

480th FS F-16C [USAF/Staff Sgt Zade Vadnais]
A Lockheed Martin F-16C Fighting Falcon assigned to the USAF's 480th Fighter Squadron 'Warhawks' at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, taxis along the flightline after arriving at Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE on November 12, 2020. USAF/Staff Sgt Zade Vadnais

The service adds that the deployment will enhance Air Force Central Command’s (AFCENT’s) “ability to deter aggression and promote security and stability within the US Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility.”

Lt Gen Greg Guillot, commander of the 9th Air Force (AFCENT), said: “While deployed, the unit will conduct a wide range of missions, including combat operations and training with joint and regional partners, [enhancing] the unit’s overall readiness and [returning] to (US European Command) better prepared to support future operations.”

Dynamic Force Employment operations help deliver a critical capability to joint force commanders that allow for the fluid movement of forces into and across an area of operations. The USAF adds that these deployments also enable US forces to “seize, retain and exploit the initiative against an adversary.”