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Spangdahlem F-16s deploy to Al Dhafra

A squadron of F-16 Fighting Falcons and airmen from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates Nov. 12.

In a Monday release, U.S. Air Forces Central Command said the fighters and airmen, from the 480th Fighter Squadron of Spangdahlem’s 52nd Fighter Wing, deployed under the dynamic force employment model. They will quickly begin taking part in missions with joint, coalition and partner forces, as well as theater air training, AFCENT said.

AFCENT said the squadron’s presence improves the command’s ability “to deter aggression and promote security and stability” within the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility in the Middle East region.

photo_camera A pilot from the 494th Fighter Squadron descends from an F-15E Strike Eagle Oct. 18 at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. The 494th Fighter Squadron “Panthers” deployed to the Middle East to support ongoing operations. (Tech. Sgt. Kat Justen/Air Force)
F-15E Strike Eagles deploy to Al Dhafra

The Strike Eagles will join other aircraft including the F-35A, the KC-10 Extender, and the RQ-4 Global Hawk.

“The deployment of the 480th Fighter Squadron demonstrates the U.S. Air Force’s agility and CENTCOM’s commitment to allies and partners to bolster security and stability in the region,” AFCENT commander Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot said in the release. “While deployed, the unit will conduct a wide range of missions, including combat operations and training with joint and regional partners, enhance the unit’s overall readiness and return to [U.S. European Command] better prepared to support future operations.”

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron taxis on the flightline upon arrival at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 12. (Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais/Air Force)
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron taxis on the flightline upon arrival at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 12. (Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais/Air Force)

This is the Air Force’s first dynamic deployment to CENTCOM since October 2019, when a detachment of F-16s from Aviano Air Base in Italy deployed.

AFCENT said these kind of dynamic deployments allow joint force commanders the ability to quickly and easily move forces into and across a theater to gain or maintain an advantage over an adversary.

Last month, a squadron of F-35A fighters from Hill Air Force Base in Utah wrapped up a five-month deployment to Al Dhafra. A group of F-15E Strike Eagles from RAF Lakenheath in England also deployed to Al Dhafra in October 2019.

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