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494th Fighter Squadron at TLP 22-3

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, taxis after landing at the Tactical Leadership Programme 22-3 at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, Sept. 9, 2022. TLP has become the focal point for NATO’s Allied Air Forces tactical training and development of knowledge and leadership skills, necessary to face today’s air tactical challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Welty)
U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle pilots assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, step prior to takeoff during the Tactical Leadership Programme 22-3 at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, Sept. 12, 2022. TLP has become the focal point for NATO’s Allied Air Forces tactical training and development of knowledge and leadership skills, necessary to face today’s air tactical challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Welty)
A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle maintainer assists pilots, both assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, exit their aircraft after landing at the Tactical Leadership Programme 22-3 at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, Sept. 9, 2022. The Liberty Wing’s F-15s were the first foreign aircraft to arrive in Spain for the two-week NATO course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Welty)
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The 494th FS spearheads a new deployment model

By Tech. Sgt. Dhruv Gopinath and Tech. Sgt. Rachel Maxwell

SOUDA AIR BASE, Greece —
U.S. F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron, stationed out of Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, conducted an Agile Combat Employment movement to Souda AB Greece, within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, July 15, 2022.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Curtis Culver, 494th Fighter Squadron commander, smiles as he watches two F-15E Strike Eagles return after completing an Agile Combat Employment movement between combatant commands, at Souda Air Base, Greece, July 15, 2022. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Rachel Maxwell)

“We wanted to operationalize the concept of agile forces conducting operations in multiple combatant commands from a single geographic location,” said Lt. Col. Curtis Culver, 494 FS commander. “We demonstrated that we can rapidly move aircraft between combatant commands, and be ready for contingency operations in either.”

U.S. Air Force Capt. Sean Blye, an F-15E Strike Eagle pilot assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron, from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, conducts pre-flight checks at Souda Air Base, Greece, July 15, 2022. Blye acted as mission flight lead while conducting flight operations from Souda AB to an undisclosed location within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, in an effort to exercise cross-combatant command Agile Combat Employment operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Rachel Maxwell)

In order to validate the concept, the 494 FS flew two of its Strike Eagles from Souda Air Base, Greece to the CENTCOM AOR, which landed, refueled and then returned the same day.

“It was a really cool experience overall,” said Capt. Sean Blye, the mission’s flight lead. “It was great to see all the different teams come together to make it seamless and show just how easy it is to send out airpower across multiple combatant commands in a single day.”

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MISSION READY
INSIDE THE BEST FIGHTER SQUADRON OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE

written by Patrick “Red” van Dam

Mission Ready is a visual narrative about a world that’s not accessible to most of us. Until now. Documentary photographer and creative director Patrick van Dam gives us a realistic and uncensored insight into the “Best Fighter Squadron of the U.S. Air Force”. Through compelling images, he offers an insider perspective of the legendary 493rd Fighter Squadron’s daily operations. This is not Top Gun. This is better. This is real.

From 2016 to 2021, Van Dam was granted access to several restricted military airbases and experienced first-hand what it takes to be a fighter pilot during a training mission in an F-15 Eagle. His contemporary photography is never shy of demystifying a sometimes romanticized world, yet always with an aesthetic point of view.

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F-15E aircraft arrive in Greece for INIOCHOS 22

U.S. Air Force Airmen and F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath, England, arrived at Andravida Air Base, Greece, to support INIOCHOS 22. The exercise is a Hellenic air force-sponsored operational and tactical level field training exercise, hosted by the Hellenic Air Tactics Center at Greece’s fighter weapons school, located at Andravida Air Base, Greece, from March 27 to April 7, 2022.

The exercise aims to enhance combat readiness and fighting capability, while providing participants the opportunity to develop capabilities planning and conduct complex air operations in a multinational, joint force environment.

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494 FS Panthers return Home

 photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob Wood

Welcome home! The 494th Fighter Squadron “Mighty Black Panthers” returned back to RAF Lakenheath, Oct. 26, 2021. Deployed as the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron for 8 monhts in support of Operation Inherent Resolve at the 332nd Expeditionary Wing, the Panthers generated over 1900 sorties and over 8400 hours of combat operations while in theater.

F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron fly in formation prior to landing at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 26, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob Wood)
An F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron returns from a deployment at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 26, 2021. The 494th FS was deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia for eight-months in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob Wood)