SPANGDHALEM AIR BASE, Germany – Eight F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation fighters from the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 2 to continue NATO’s enhanced air policing mission along the Eastern flank.
As part of NATO’s plan to bolster its collective defense posture, the Vermont Air National Guard team will take over the mission for Hill Air Force Base’s 388th Fighter Wing, which has been executing the coalition’s air policing mission since their arrival Feb. 16.
U.S. European Command’s ability to rotate units maintains readiness across the force and displays the U.S. Air Force’s ability to integrate seamlessly between Active Duty, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard components.
Fifth-generation aircraft provide unprecedented communication capabilities, command and control, and lethality for the combined and joint force. These capabilities afford NATO and U.S. leaders the flexibility to project power and assert air dominance in highly contested environments.
Over the past two and a half months, F-35 aircraft, aircrew and support personnel have forward-deployed to Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions to enhance NATO security and stability while supporting NATO’s enhanced air policing.
The continuation of the F-35 mission gives Air National Guard Airmen the opportunity to continue the regular touchpoints and routine training integration with U.S. allies and partners throughout Europe.