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Strike Eagles make room for F-35A arrival

A fleet of F-15E Strike Eagles from the 492nd Fighter Squadron and the 494th FS utilizes the newly expanded ramp at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 12, 2020. The ramp consolidates F-15E Strike Eagle operations for the two squadrons, shortens transit times and maintenance operations, and improves mission efficiency.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhonda Smith)

A fleet of F-15E Strike Eagles from the 492nd Fighter Squadron and the 494th FS utilizes the newly expanded ramp at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 12, 2020. The ramp consolidates F-15E Strike Eagle operations for the two squadrons, shortens transit times and maintenance operations, and improves mission efficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhonda Smith)

A 48th Fighter Wing crew chief marshalls an F-15E Strike Eagle onto a newly expanded parking ramp at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 12, 2020. The ramp consolidates F-15E Strike Eagle operations for the two squadrons, shortens transit times and maintenance operations, and improves mission efficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhonda Smith)

A 48th Fighter Wing crew chief marshalls an F-15E Strike Eagle onto a newly expanded parking ramp at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 12, 2020. The ramp consolidates F-15E Strike Eagle operations for the two squadrons, shortens transit times and maintenance operations, and improves mission efficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhonda Smith)

An F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing is moved to the newly expanded parking ramp at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 11, 2020. The ramp’s completion signified another key milestone as the 48th Fighter Wing prepares to welcome its first F-35A aircraft in late 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhonda Smith)

An F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing is moved to the newly expanded parking ramp at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 11, 2020. The ramp’s completion signified another key milestone as the 48th Fighter Wing prepares to welcome its first F-35A aircraft in late 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhonda Smith)

An Airman assigned to the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron transports tools to the newly expanded F-15E parking ramp at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 11, 2020. The ramp expansion facilitates construction of new infrastructure for the F-35A Lightning II arriving in late 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhonda Smith)

An Airman assigned to the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron transports tools to the newly expanded F-15E parking ramp at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 11, 2020. The ramp expansion facilitates construction of new infrastructure for the F-35A Lightning II arriving in late 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhonda Smith)

A civilian contractor removes water barriers from the newly expanded F-15E parking ramp at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 10, 2020. The ramp expansion facilitates construction of new infrastructure for the F-35A Lightning II arriving in late 2021.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhonda Smith)

A civilian contractor removes water barriers from the newly expanded F-15E parking ramp at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 10, 2020. The ramp expansion facilitates construction of new infrastructure for the F-35A Lightning II arriving in late 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhonda Smith)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England – The 48th Fighter Wing and U.K. Defense Infrastructure Organisation partners unveiled a new parking ramp for the 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Aug. 11, 2020.

“The ramp consolidates F-15E Strike Eagle operations for the two squadrons, shortens transit times and maintenance operations, and saves manpower while improving mission efficiency,” said Lt. Col. Clinton G. Warner, director of the 48th F-35 Program Integration Office at RAF Lakenheath.

The expansion project began in April of 2019 and was completed August 2020 to facilitate construction of the parking apron for the incoming F-35A Lightning II aircraft arriving in late 2021.

“This represents a huge milestone for the F-35 program at RAF Lakenheath and also for U.K. defenses,” said Mark Evans, the F-35 Delivery Partner project manager for the DIO. “It represents the successful completion of collaborations between multiple industry organisations of the U.K. and U.S. visiting forces.”

The arrival of the F-35A will mark the first-ever permanent basing of U.S. fifth-generation aircraft in the European theater, enhancing the 48th Fighter Wing’s combat lethality and contributions to the collective defense of the NATO alliance.