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USAF fighter jets to conduct night-time training exercise over Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 08:55 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:10 10 April 2019

U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, England, fly along-side a 100th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker near the North Sea. Picture: SENIOR AIRMAN BENJAMIN COOPER

U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, England, fly along-side a 100th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker near the North Sea. Picture: SENIOR AIRMAN BENJAMIN COOPER

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Two US Air Force units will take part a training exercise in Suffolk's skies at the end of the month to practise limited flying at night.

The exercise will see F-15e fighter jets and the KC-135 refuelling jets in action between RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall between April 23 and April 25 as well as flying out to training ranges in the North Sea several times between sunset and sunrise.

Colonel Will Marshall, 48th Fighter Wing commander, said: “The men and women who serve here are always ready to fly, fight and win for our nation, the United Kingdom and our allies.

“To maintain that level of readiness, we have to train for operations in all conditions, and that includes flying at night.”

The USAF says overland flying will be limited as much as possible between sunset and sunrise.

The exercise does not include plans for low-altitude flying in East Anglia or the surrounding regions during established quiet hours and all training will be conducted in accordance with Ministry of Defence and UK airspace regulations.

“We know it’s unusual for our neighbours in East Anglia to hear our aircraft flying throughout the night, and we will continue to minimize the impact of our training program however possible,” Col. Marshall said.

“On behalf of our fighter wing, I’d like to thank everyone for their understanding and patience during this short period of important training.”

Col Christopher Amrhein, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, said: “This exercise is incredibly important to our collective ability to respond to contingencies in the African and European theaters.

“We are very thankful for the support we receive from the communities surrounding the bases, because without that support, we would be unable to train to maximum effect and assert ourselves as strategically forward-based assets in the UK.”

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