Lakenheath: Fighter jets at US base grounded until September

F15s have been grounded at RAF Lakenheath

F15s have been grounded at RAF Lakenheath - Credit: P/A

FLYING hours for fighter planes at a US base in Suffolk have been cut, the US Air Force has confirmed.

Two of 48th Fighter Wing’s F-15 Eagle Squadrons, based at RAF Lakenheath, have been grounded until at least September in response to the effects of US government defence budget cuts.

An RAF Lakenheath spokesman said: “During these measures the base will focus on maintaining the most capable and ready force possible within the current budget constraints.

“To do so, it is implementing a tiered-readiness concept for the active duty force, where only units preparing to deploy in support of current operations are trained to be fully mission capable.

“As part of the concept, the local community will continue to see 48th Fighter Wing aircraft flying, although less frequently.

“Personnel will continue ground training as well, which includes flight simulator training.” Flying hour cuts have been imposed until September 30 when the grounding will be reassessed within the parameters of the fiscal year 2014 budget and projected fiscal year flying hours.

The spokesman added: “The USAF took an enterprise approach to distributing flying hours across the force in order to focus available operational capability on the most important missions.

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“Developing and maintaining relationships with international partners remains an enduring mission for USAFE-AFAFRICA and the 48th Fighter Wing, and that mission’s significance is unchanged by the current budget challenges.

“Liberty Airmen will maintain the same presence at RAF Lakenheath and continue to take part in the local community.”

Training flights for the 100th Air Refuelling Wing at RAF Mildenhall have also been reduced.

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