Spangdahlem F-16s deploy to Poland for ADR 21.3

US Air Force (USAF)-operated Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcons and associated personnel from the 52nd Fighter Wing’s (FW’s) 480th Fighter Squadron (FS) ‘Warhawks’ at Spangdahlem Air Base (AB), Germany, have deployed to Łask AB, Poland, to participate in Aviation Detachment Rotation (ADR) 21.3.

The deployment was announced by US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) on August 4. It noted that ADR 21.3 will provide the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS) and its crews with “vital integration opportunities” with Poland and total force training with US Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) and Air National Guard (ANG) units to enhance interoperability.

480th FS F-16C departs Lask AB 02-08-21 [USAF/Tech Sgt Anthony Plyler]
A USAF-operated Lockheed Martin F-16C Fighting Falcon - assigned to the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS) - departs Łask AB, Poland, for a sortie during ADR 21.3 on August 2, 2021. USAF/Tech Sgt Anthony Plyler

Capt Jake Houder, detachment commander of the 480th EFS, said: “The intent of the ADR is to provide unique training opportunities for both countries’ forces as well as enhance our interoperability in terms of doctrines, procedures and equipment. This is a great opportunity for us to prepare together for future operations and missions through mutually beneficial exercises and training.”

In addition to training with the Polish Air Force, the 480th EFS will also have the opportunity to train alongside airmen and women from the 108th Air Refueling Squadron (ARS) ‘Mid America Militia’ – a component of the Illinois ANG’s 126th Air Refuelling Wing. The 108th ARS is based at Scott Air Force Base (AFB) in Belleville, Illinois, and is covering the aerial refuelling requirements during the training operations.

480th FS F-16C at Lask AB 02-08-21 [USAF/Tech Sgt Anthony Plyler]
Senior Airman Peter Ho - a crew chief with the 480th EFS - conducts a pre-flight check of a USAF-operated F-16C at Łask AB, Poland, during ADR 21.3 on August 2, 2021. USAF/Tech Sgt Anthony Plyler

“This experience is vital for our airmen because it places them in a new environment and also one where they have the opportunity to work more closely with individuals who may have different specialities or be from a partner nation. I’m excited for us to embrace this opportunity to foster a highly-motivated, diverse and capable team,” Houder added.

The 52nd Operations Group, Detachment 1, is a geographically separated unit (GSU) of the 52nd FW, located at Łask. The unit serves as a regional hub for airborne training and hosts four ADR missions on an annual basis.