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USAF Names RAF Lakenheath As F-35A Base, Unveils Closures


Jan 8, 2015
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  • LONDON – The U.S. Air Force has chosen
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    Lakenheath in the U.K. as its first base for the
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    in Europe.

    Two squadrons of F-35s will be located at the airbase, with the first aircraft due to arrive in 2020.

    But the arrival of the aircraft will coincide with significant upheaval in the
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    ’s basing structure, most notably in the U.K. That is where nearby RAF Mildenhall – home to the Air Force's only European-based aerial refueling squadron – will be closed and handed back to the U.K. The
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    KC-135 tankers and a co-located special operations group flying the
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    MC-130J Commando II and
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    Ospreys will move to bases in Germany.

    The changes are a result of the U.S.
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    's European Infrastructure Consolidation (EIC), a two-year-long study to downsize the number of sites and facilities being used by U.S. forces in Europe.

    The results of the EIC announced in Washington on Jan. 8 mainly affect U.S. Army facilities in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, with a total of 15 sites closing. Air Force operations at Lajes Field in the Portuguese Azores island chain will also be downsized, European Command (EUCOM) said.

    The U.K. was hit particularly hard. On top of the closure of Mildenhall, the intelligence-gathering and support facilities at RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth will also close and be consolidated into the communications base at RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire.

    Both Alconbury and Molesworth are due to close in 2022.

    The Defense Department says the EIC and F-35 basing decisions will result in a net decrease of about 2,000 U.S. military and civilian personnel in the U.K. into the early 2020s due to the removal of about 3,200 U.S. personnel from RAF Mildenhall. This will be offset by the addition of about 1,200 U.S. military personnel who will be stationed alongside the two F-35 squadrons at Lakenheath.

    Announcing the EIC results at the Pentagon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Derek Chollet said the process was based on that used for the the Pentagon's Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC). It was approved by senior officers who wanted to reduce infrastructure costs without impacting manpower, which currently stands at 67,000 personnel from all the U.S. services stationed in Europe.

    Chollet said annual savings as a result of the changes would be more than $500 million a year after the process was complete.

    The closure of Mildenhall alone is expected to save the DOD around $125 million a year.

    Two squadrons, each with 24 F-35As, will be based at Lakenheath, eventually replacing two squadrons of
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    Strike Eagles and a single unit of F-15Cs currently based there. The F-15Cs had widely been expected to be withdrawn following the fiscal 2014 budget. But issues in Ukraine and the need to reassure NATO’s eastern states seem to have caused the aircraft to be kept in Europe longer. It is currently unclear when the F-15s will finally leave Lakenheath.

    Eucom officials told Aviation Week that Mildenhall’s KC-135s would move to Ramstein air base in Germany, while the Special Operations Group would move to Spangdahlem air base. This is due to occur "within seven years," according to a U.S. Air Force Europe (USAFE) statement.

    A final closing date for Mildenhall has yet to be decided, but the divestiture process for the base is due to begin in 2019.

    But officials have said they do plan to keep facilities to support deployments of the intelligence-gathering RC-135 fleet in Britain. Mildenhall is currently home to the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron, a unit that does not have any aircraft assigned to it but is responsible for the regular detachments of RC-135 Rivet Joints and its associated derivatives to the U.K.

    Now that the U.K. is operating the Rivet Joint, it has been suggested that the Air Force deployments could also operate from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. But this has not been confirmed by either the U.K. defense ministry or the DOD.

    British Defense Minister Michael Fallon welcomed the decision to base the F-35s at Lakenheath. He said basing the U.S. jets close to the U.K.’s F-35 base at Marham, just 20 mi. away, would provide "opportunities for training and wider support partnerships, including flight training simulation."

    Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces Africa, said "we understand these changes will have substantial impacts on the local areas. But we are dedicated to working closely with our community neighbors, defense partners, personnel and families to ease the impact of these transitions as much as possible. These infrastructure consolidations will allow USAFE-AFAFRICA to better meet alliance mission requirements."
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Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Regarding the JMSDF P-1...it is definitely a good aircraft and you know, with the new initiatives, that the Japanese government will seek to export it.

Will the UK buy into it and choose it over the P-8A Poseidon?

oit will be interesting to see, and the competition will only make both aircraft better in the long run.

I personally think that the UK will ultimately decide to go with the Poseidon in this case...but I also believe that there will be others who choose the P-1, particularly if Japan comes in with a good price point.
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
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Naval Today said:
Three Chinese Naval ships will arrive in Portsmouth next week for a formal visit aimed at enhancing military understanding between the UK and China.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming and hundreds of UK-based Chinese residents will welcome the ships into the city’s Naval Base on Monday (January 12).

Heading the task group is the assault ship Chang Bai Shan, accompanied by the frigate Yun Cheng and the replenishment ship Chaohu. Chang Bai Shan will fire a 21-gun salute as she approaches the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour and a response will be fired from Fort Blockhouse, Gosport.

The ships’ last port of call was Salalah in Oman and on leaving Portsmouth they will head for Kiel in Germany.
During the five-day visit, senior officers from both Navies will discuss various maritime topics including recent counter-piracy operations across the Indian Ocean.

Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said: “The Chinese Naval ships will be visiting the UK after they have finished a counter-piracy escort mission in the waters of the Gulf of Aden. This will be the third visit to the UK by Chinese Naval ships, and the largest one.

“It is a significant event in China-UK relations and exchange between the two militaries at the beginning of 2015. It will be a visit of peace, friendship and cooperation. It will further deepen the exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries, and push forward the comprehensive development of the China-UK relations.”

Commodore Jeremy Rigby, Naval Base Commander, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming our Chinese visitors to the operational home of the Royal Navy. As with our ship visits abroad, these events are not only of great diplomatic significance, but also very useful militarily given that we share similar global challenges including counter-piracy, preventing conflict, protecting our citizens overseas and supporting UN peacekeeping efforts.”

Crew members from all three vessels will be given tours of local attractions including HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose and they’ll also be shown around the Royal Navy’s newest warship – Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan.

The two nations will also compete in badminton and basketball matches at HMS Temeraire in Portsmouth – the Navy’s home of physical training.

The ships leave Portsmouth on January 16.

So, a Type 054A FFG, a Type 071 LPD, and a Type 903A AOR. Pretty nice group and if they give tours it would be a nice set of tours to take. If those three came into San Diego, San Francisco, or to Seattle, I would be real tempted to drive the 600-800 miles to see them.
 
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Mr T

Senior Member
Will the UK buy into it and choose it over the P-8A Poseidon?
Hard to say. But if we were to assume either plane would fill British requirements, I think price could be a key issue. If they're relatively similar on that factor, the natural response will be to buy American given our defence co-operation.

However, if the Japanese were to offer significant savings, that could make a difference - the defence budget is tight at the moment.
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Hard to say. But if we were to assume either plane would fill British requirements, I think price could be a key issue. If they're relatively similar on that factor, the natural response will be to buy American given our defence co-operation.

However, if the Japanese were to offer significant savings, that could make a difference - the defence budget is tight at the moment.

I agree.
 

HMS Astute

Junior Member
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Babcock has confirmed it is bidding to construct the new UK polar flagship at its shipyard in Appledore, North Devon. In April 2014, chancellor George Osborne announced that the Government had set aside more than £200 million for a new UK polar flagship. The new ship, which is currently unnamed, will allow researchers to travel deeper into the Arctic and Antarctic, deploy unmanned submarines, operate helicopters and and have extensive onboard laboratories. It is also expected it will service bases in the British Antarctic Territory. The new vessel, which will be operated by the Natural Environment Research Council, will be ready for its first science mission in 2019.
 

HMS Astute

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08/01/2015

Ultra Electronics, based in Greenford, Middlesex, has been awarded a £27m contract for the Royal Navy’s Sonar 2050 Technology Refresh Programme. Under this contract, which will be executed over the next 10 years, the Group will deliver and support new hull mounted sonars for eight Type-23 frigates. The S2050 Technology Refresh programme will deliver a world leading sonar capability providing persistent surveillance against submarine and torpedo threats, at a significantly lower through-life cost. Ultra’s capability in sonar leverages technologies from a number of recent overseas wins. The Group is able to offer this advanced system as a low risk solution to the Royal Navy.

Rakesh Sharma, Chief Executive of Ultra commented: “I am very pleased that Ultra has been awarded the Sonar 2050 Technology Refresh contract. This is a significant opportunity and it demonstrates Ultra’s continuing ability to supply and support cutting edge sonar systems to the Royal Navy. We look forward to working with the DE&S team on this programme.”
 

Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
Stunning images emerge of RAF Typhoons flying over Grand Canyon en-route to Nevada, United States (10/01/2015)





I don't like Euro Canards, but they are growing on me, I like them PHOONs, what did Will Smith say?? I gots to get me one of dese??? I agree, I think I need a PHOON! if any of you characters are longing for a Mig-29 UB, Natasha's little sister is for sale here in Central Obamastan,,, 818 TT Aiframe, on of the engines was great, one has 50 hours on a Major, they are 1400 hr TBO engines, but better save your pennies for the fuel bill, better yet, just buy an oil-well..... if anyone is interested I would be very happy to act as your agent, I could prolly talk them down a couple of million,,,,yeah, I'm a wheeler dealer????
 

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