Lakenheath: Fighter jets are back in the air again - for now

American F15's take off from RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk

American F15's take off from RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk - Credit: P/A

Fighter jets based at RAF Lakenheath have resumed their standard flying schedule after being grounded in response to US Government defence cuts.

Two of 48th Fighter Wing’s F-15 Eagle Squadrons are now back in the skies over Suffolk following the announcement in April that the planes would be out of action until September.

But base commanders have warned that the resumption of “critical training” could only be for the next two and a half months.

The restored flying hour program, which affects United States Air Forces in Europe units, Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Forces units, represents $208million of the $1.8billion reprogramming allocation authorised by Congress.

Colonel Mark Ciero, 48th Fighter Wing vice commander, said: “While we are pleased to be able to resume our regular flying hour program, we should remember that this is not a permanent solution. As we look forward to the next fiscal year we need to stay focused on cost-reduction throughout the wing.”

Col Ciero also stressed the importance of training regardless of financial constraints.

He added: “Providing combat ready air forces is priority one. We need to ensure that our aircrew and support personnel receive the best training possible via whatever means we have available, both now and in the future.”

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Training flights were also reduced for 100th Air Refuelling Wing at RAF Mildenhall.

In April a spokesman for Lakenheath insisted that airman would remain at the base and continue to take part in the community.

They also moved to reassure the public that even in the event of a stand down of aircraft at RAF Lakenheath, there will be no change to the base’s manning.