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6 helos, 12 jets, one sky: US, UK forces train together

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 56th Rescue Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath and the 7th Special Operations Squadron from RAF Mildenhall flew to Hullavington Airfield to train alongside the British Army and Royal Air Force during exercise Voijek Valour, Feb. 29 - March 3.

The exercise included six helicopters, 250 British soldiers and more than a dozen jets conducting scenarios across Salisbury Plain. Three AH-64 Apaches from 663 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, two CV-22B Ospreys from the 7th SOS, an RAF CH-47 Chinook and a 56th RQS HH-60G Pave Hawk worked together with the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, building interoperability between British and American forces.

Throughout the week, F-15E Strike Eagles from RAF Lakenheath's 492nd Fighter Squadron and Typhoons from RAF Coningsby also flew over Salisbury Plain in support of the exercise, to simulate a deployed environment.

The exercise strengthened relationships established when these units once worked together in Afghanistan.

"We worked with 16 Air Assault Brigade and USAF aviation assets in Afghanistan and it is important that we continue to maintain the experience and understanding of the missions we can conduct together," explained British Army Maj. Andrew Mitchell, 663 Squadron officer commanding. "The more we do now, the better we will be able to work together on the next operation."