Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine DSEI 2021

Frag Out! Magazine

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Page 17 of 99

Aviation Detachment Rotation has become a permanent ele- ment of the landscape at the 31st and 32nd Tactical Air Bases, and the 33rd Airlift Base. Since 2014, a couple of times per year, two- week-long exercises are held, involving the Polish Air Force, and the F-16s (most often - hailing from the 52nd Fighter Wing based at Spangdahlem, and 31st Fighter Wing based at Aviano, sometimes CONUS-based units also deploy their assets to Poland. Secondly, C-130Js from the 86th Airlift Wing also periodically come to Poland (sporadically replaced by US-based aircraft). This year, the ADR exer- cise took a shape that was a bit different. It was the first time when Poland hosted the F-15s hailing from the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath in the UK. Previously, the F-15s only had been visiting Poland during airshows, and made a brief appearance in Powidz, back in 2019. Interestingly, the Eagles have been frequently visiting the eastern flank during exercises or rotations - in Bulgaria, Romania, or Lithuania. F-15Cs and F-15Ds hailing from the 493rd Fighter Squadron came to Poland this time (the Squadron is known as the "Grim Reapers" - some of the aircraft that came to Poland also had markings commemorating their victories of the first Gulf War), along with F-15Es from the 494th Fighter Squadron. The air- craft of the latter unit were deployed to the Łask AB. Additionally, both bases also held 4 (two in each base) F-16Cs from the 480th Fighter Squadron based in Spangdahlem. The deployment was sup- ported by C-130Js from Ramstein. These, however, did not stay in Poland. They remained "on duty" at the Belgian Chievres AB (subor- dinated to the 86th Airlift Wing, also being used as a support facility for NATO - SHAPE HQ). The second reason making the 21.2 rotation so unique was the fact that it was also a part of the ACE exercise (Agile Combat Employment). The ACE concept envisages rapid de- ployment of strike assets to a forward operating base (austere, or F - 1 5 i n t h e P o l i s h S k i e s 16

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