The Air Force regularly shifted aircraft and personnel between different bases in Europe during the Cold War to keep the former Soviet Union guessing as to where they could strike from. But more than 20 years of mainly counterterrorism missions meant fewer quick location changes and more stability.
But an increasingly assertive Russia has prompted Air Force officials to dust off some of their Cold War training manuals.
The 100th Air Refueling Wing based at RAF Mildenhall in Great Britain tested their ability to rapidly move their headquarters to Ramstein Air Base in Germany in September during a three day exercise dubbed “Wolfpack,” according to Defense One, a publication that covers the military and defense issues.
“We know going into the future we have an adversary that knows how we operate, so we have to change the game,” Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Ferdinandsen, who leads the 351st Air Refueling Squadron, told Defense One. “We can’t always operate out of (RAF) Mildenhall.”
A U.S. Air Force fighter wing based at nearby RAF Lakenheath is preparing for the arrival of its first F-35 stealth jet fighter for any future faceoff with Russia. According to Defense One, more than 50 additional F-35s are expected to follow by the end of 2023. A large hanger at the base will hold six F-35 simulators.
“For Europe, realistically, the best place to get that training is here in our sims,” Lt. Col. Ajax Syswerda, 48th Fighter Wing director of staff told Defense News. “We will obviously fly the jet a lot and train representations of that. But, to put up the numbers of adversaries you want to fight against … the best place to do that and way less expensive is in the sims.”