Atlantic Resolve 2018
Frisian Flag 2018 - Thracian Eagle 2018 - Dacian Eagle 2018
A good part of Frisian Flag 2018 was already the fourth deployment of ANG Eagles. Earlier we published articles about the F-15 air defense versions in service with the USAF, and the histories of the ANG units that visited Leeuwarden. Here is an update of the USAF F-15C/D.
This year’s deployment is under the 123rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS) and is a combination of the Oregon ANG’s 123rd Fighter Squadron (FS) ‘Redhawks’/142nd Fighter Wing (FW) at Portland International Airport and the Massachusetts ANG’s 131st FS ‘Death Vipers’/104th FW based at Barnes Municipal Airport near Westfield.
Each of the two participating units takes the lead for three of the six months in which a TSP is deployed.
All 12 Eagles involved – including six Oregon F-15Cs and five F-15Cs plus an F-15D from Massachusetts – arrived at Leeuwarden AB in The Netherlands on March 19, and participated in the Exercise ‘Frisian Flag 2018'. Later they moved to Bulgaria for four weeks in May and June for 'Thracian Eagle 2018' at Graf Ignatievo before heading to Romania. They arrived in Campia Turzii, Romania, June 13, 2018, to participate in the joint Romanian-American flight training event ‘Dacian Eagle 2018’. On the 9th of September they left Romania for RAF Lakenheath in England on their way back to the USA.
In the past four years such deployments have been part of Theater Support Packages (TSPs) under Operation ‘Atlantic Resolve’. The five operational F-15 squadrons within the ANG take turns to supply jets and personnel for the deployments.
ANG F-15s under fire
The USAF is struggling with the budget, as a result, plans regularly crop up. Regular types such as the A-10 and B-1 are under fire. Especially the A-10 is regularly mentioned to take out of service. Which in turn did not go through as a mix of political hassle and operational reasons.
In 2017 it was the F-15C/D in. The ANG proposed replacing the F-15 with upgraded F-16C/D Block 30s fitted with an AESA radar. The F-15 costs $50,000 per flying hour and the F-16 costs $25,000. Finally this plan did not go through. The advantage of the F-15 is a larger flight range and the Eagle can carry more weapons. The F-16 Block 30s are from
FY86-88 and in terms of lifespan that does not.
Oregon ANG 173rd FW, 114rd FS Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls IAP. provides the training. An active AETC squadron has now been added as associate unit. The 550th FS 'Silver Eagles' was officially activated on July 21, 2017, and replaced Det.2 56thOG that prepared the arrival of the 550th. The 550th falls under the 56th Operations Group at Luke AFB and supports the 173rd with staff.
The 550th was previously an Eagle squadron, from August 1977 with the F-15A/B based on Luke AFB as the 550th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, code LA with silver-black tail bands. It became an F-15E training squadron in 1989, and received the first E on May 12, 1989. On August 29, 1989 from the 58th to the 405th Tactical Training Wing. On 1 October 1991 the 58th became a Fighter Wing, and the 550th became a Fighter Squadron, the tail code became LF. Disbanded and replaced by the 555th FS on November 14, 1991. Re-established again on March 25, 1994 and replaced the 555th FS which moved to Aviano AB in Italy. On April 1, 1994 the 56th FW replaced the 58th FW, the tail bands became black with Silver Eagles in silver. The 550th was disbanded on 31 March 1995. The F-15E training then moved to the 333rd FS, 4th FW at Seymour Johnson AFB.
The IDAF received eight ex 114th FS F-15Ds in September 2016. This as a substitute for some of the F-15A/Bs received in 1978, and the FY73-74 F-15Bs delivered later in 1991. These then old F-15s were considerably modified in Israel because they were now on and through their hours. These Oregon ANG F-15Bs were nominated for storage at Davis Monthan AB in Arizona . One of the other possible options was to offer them for Foreign Military Sales, FMS. They were sold to Israel, because the Israeli Air Force has a preference for two-seaters. Special is that the aircraft were delivered directly from a squadron. Deliveries usually take place from a storage, depot or industry. The eight aircraft left from Kingsley on September 11, 2016 and arrived at Tel Nof in Irael on September 15th.
Oregon and Massachusetts ANG F-15s
123rd FS Oregon ANG
131stFS Massachusetts ANG