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Hill AFB F-35s aiding in Eastern Europe return to air base in Germany

By Tim Vandenack - | Feb 28, 2022

Photo supplied, U.S. Air Force

Three U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Lakenheath in England arrive at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. They are assigned to support NATO’s collective defense.

SPANGDAHEM AIR BASE, Germany — The Hill Air Force Base F-35 fighters deployed last week in the Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions to bolster NATO defense efforts in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have returned to Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.

The U.S. Air Force deployed six Hill AFB F-35A Lighting II aircraft last week to support air policing efforts out of Amari Air Base in Estonia, Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania and Fetesti Air Base in Romania. The Estonia and Lithuania bases in the Baltic Sea area border northwestern Russia while Romania, in the Black Sea area, borders Ukraine.

Now, though, six F-35 aircraft from Royal Air Force Lakenheath in the United Kingdom have deployed to the Estonia and Lithuania bases to bolster the presence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance forces in the area.

The Hill AFB F-35A fighters “supported a variety of NATO’s defensive air policing objectives while forward deployed, and they will return to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, today,” the U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa public affairs office said in a statement on Sunday.

A separate force of F-15E Strike Eagles were deployed to Poland as part of defensive measures brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A contingent of F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from the 52nd Fighter Wing out of Spangdahlem Air Base are aiding in Romania.

The Hill AFB F-35A contingent arrived in Spangdahlem Air Base on Feb. 16. Sunday’s statement didn’t indicate any future actions involving the Hill AFB fighters.

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