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Pentagon Mulls Deploying F-35 Jets to UK Base Lakenheath - Reports

Sputnik News

01:33 14.08.2019

US Air Force European Commander Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian said that the move would allow the United States to increase its operative latitude between the UK and allies who have joined the F-35 program, Russian-based media outlets reported Tuesday.

"Our purpose is to increase the operative capabilities between the US and allies-participants of the F-35 program. Our decision would consist of deploying F-35 jets in Lakenheath in 2021", Harrigian said, cited by Russian-based media.

According to the general, cited by Russian media, the US has recently conducted two stages of drills with these jets.

"In particular, the joint maneuvers with Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia allow integrating air defence systems in Europe in the first stage. The second stage envisages the maneuvers of fast-response forces", Harrigian said, quoted by Russian media.

Harrigian reportedly pointed out that these drills demonstrated the capabilities for the fast deployment of F-15 and F-35 jets in 4 countries: Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Estonia.

According to Pentagon, the US conducts frequent bilateral training drills, which prepare Washington and the forces of other NATO members to quickly and concurrently deploy.

F-35 fighter jets are produced by Lockheed Martin, the US global aerospace and defence giant. The United Kingdom reportedly has 17 F-35 jets. In 2018, the UK Ministry of Defence pledged to buy a total of 138 jets.

In October 2018, the UK grounded its F-35 fighter jets following the crash of one of the aircraft in the US state of South Carolina, during which the pilot safely ejected from the plane.


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