USAF delivers largest shipment of munitions to Europe in almost 20 years

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeric Hernandez, 86th Munitions Squadron quality assurance inspector, inspects a fresh shipment of large ordnance on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 19, 2018. Ramstein recently received one of its largest munitions shipments in recent history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Magbanua)

The US Air Force is getting a massive munitions overhaul in Europe, with tons of ordnance sent to replenish depleted supplies.

The 86th Munitions Squadron -stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany- processed around 100 containers filled with munitions. To put that into scale, a 2016 Army ammunition delivery of around 415 containers amounted for around 5,000 tons of munitions.

According to the 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, the Air Force is running low on munitions in Europe, in no small part due to the ongoing wars in nearby theaters such as Afghanistan.

“The munitions that we received will be used for future theater operations and the evolving U.S. European Command presence,” said Master Sergeant David Head, a squadron munitions operations section chief.

Such a massive delivery has been unheard of since the 1990s- the last time such a load was sent over took place during Operation Allied Force in 1999, when the US and NATO partners intervened after it was discovered that Albanians in the Balkans were being slaughtered.

The weapons will add to existing stockpiles, and can be used to support the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), which protects European allies against Russian aggression.

“We’re a major airlift hub for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, so our main job is to get munitions where they need to be on time,” 86th MUNS flight chief Master Sergeant Arthur Myrick said in a statement. “These are real-world munitions to fulfill real-world objectives. That’s the reason we are downloading these things: to make sure we have the capability to move the fight forward if need be.”

In addition to conflict ranging from Syria to the Balkans, the old stock of munitions were also depleted in training exercises around the region.

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