Vermont ANG F-35s join NATO’s Enhanced Air Policing mission

Vermont ANG F35 NATO Spangdahlem
Vermont ANG F-35A stealth fighters.

Eight F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation fighters from the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 2 to continue NATO’s enhanced air policing mission along the Eastern flank.

As part of NATO’s plan to bolster its collective defense posture, the Vermont Air National Guard team will take over the mission for Hill Air Force Base’s 388th Fighter Wing, which has been executing the coalition’s air policing mission since their arrival Feb. 16.

According to the U.S. European Command, this deployment displays the U.S. Air Force’s ability to integrate seamlessly between Active Duty, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard components.

In addition, USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs highlighted how fifth-generation aircraft provide unprecedented communication capabilities, command and control, and lethality for the combined and joint force. These capabilities afford NATO and U.S. leaders the flexibility to project power and assert air dominance in highly contested environments.

Vermont ANG F35 NATO Spangdahlem

Over the past two and a half months, F-35 aircraft, aircrew and support personnel have forward-deployed to Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions to enhance NATO security and stability while supporting NATO’s enhanced air policing.

The 158th FW was the first Air National Guard unit to receive the F-35. It took delivery of the first two aircraft in September 2019 and eighteen more in the following months.

Written by Darren Bondi
Images: US ANG (Archive Photos)

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