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RAF Lakenheath celebrates 25 years of Strike Eagles at the base

PUBLISHED: 13:47 24 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:47 24 February 2017

The first F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing lands at RAF Lakenheath on  Feburary, 21 1992. In the last 25 years, the 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons have supported combat operations in various locations. Photo: Courtesy of Royal Air Force Lakenheath

The first F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing lands at RAF Lakenheath on Feburary, 21 1992. In the last 25 years, the 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons have supported combat operations in various locations. Photo: Courtesy of Royal Air Force Lakenheath

Courtesy of Royal Air Force Lakenheath

They are a common sight above the skies of Norfolk and Suffolk and it is now 25 years since the first F-15 Strike Eagle touched down at RAF Lakenheath.

The F-15 taking off from RAF Lakenheath. Picture: USAF The F-15 taking off from RAF Lakenheath. Picture: USAF

Since its assignment to the 48th Fighter Wing at the airbase, the fighter jet has been involved in combat operations with the 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons in Iraq, the Balkans, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya,

Col Evan Pettus, 48th FW commander, said the 25th anniversary is a special milestone.

“This milestone is a reminder of the breadth and depth of the US commitment to our partners and allies in NATO,” he said. “The Strike Eagle was our air force’s most modern machine when it landed at RAF Lakenheath 25 years ago, and it’s been upgraded continuously ever since.

“Today’s F-15E is far more lethal than ever before.”

This F-15E Strike Eagle was the wing'’s new flagship upon its arrival at the 48th Fighter Wing on February, 21 1992. F-15E Strike Eagles have enjoyed 25 years of flying in East Anglia while assigned to the 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons at RAF Lakenheath. Photo: Courtesy of Royal Air Force Lakenheath This F-15E Strike Eagle was the wing'’s new flagship upon its arrival at the 48th Fighter Wing on February, 21 1992. F-15E Strike Eagles have enjoyed 25 years of flying in East Anglia while assigned to the 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons at RAF Lakenheath. Photo: Courtesy of Royal Air Force Lakenheath

The squadrons - which are the only two Strike Eagle squadrons in US Air Forces in Europe and Africa - have also participated in exercises in more than 20 nations.

Col Pettus added: “The F-15E will be with us for years to come, and it will continue to play a key role in ongoing combat operations.

“Soon, RAF Lakenheath’s F-15 units will be complimented by two squadrons of fifth generation F-35s, making the Liberty Wing even more capable of delivering decisive air power to our nation and its allies.”

An F-15 preparing for take-off at RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Simon Bamber An F-15 preparing for take-off at RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Simon Bamber

The F-15 Strike Eagle

It is a twin-engine all weather air-to-air combat fighter

The engines provide 58,000 pounds of thrust, which enable the F-15 to exceed speeds of Mach 2.5

Boeing has built more than 1,600 of the aircraft for six countries around the world - none of them plan to retire the F-15

F-15jets preparing to take off from RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Denise Bradley F-15jets preparing to take off from RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Denise Bradley

Length: 63.8ft (19.45m)

Height: 18.5ft (5.65m)

Wing span: 42.8ft (13.05m)

Weight: 20.41 kg

20th anniversary celebrations of the arrival of the F-15 at RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Sonya Duncan 20th anniversary celebrations of the arrival of the F-15 at RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Speed: 1,875 mph

Armament -

F-15 air-to-air:20mm cannon AIM-120 (AMRAAM) missiles; AIM-9 (Sidewinder) missiles and AIM-7 (Sparrow) missiles

F-15E Air-to-ground:precision guided munitions and a variety of missiles and bombs

The F-15 in flight for the 20th anniversary celebrations of their arrival at RAF Lakenheath. The F-15 in flight for the 20th anniversary celebrations of their arrival at RAF Lakenheath.

F-15E Air-to-air: cannon and eight medium and short-range missiles

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