Vermont guard F-35s to join NATO for enhanced air policing mission

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A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fifth generation fighter aircraft assigned to the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing, arrives at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, May 02, 2022. Fifth generation aircraft provide unprecedented communication capabilities, command and control, and lethality for the combined and joint force which afford NATO and U.S. leaders the flexibility to project power and assert air dominance in highly contested environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Plyler)


By U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

SPANGDHALEM AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) —  

Eight F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation fighters from the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing recently arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base to continue NATO’s enhanced air policing mission along the eastern flank.

As part of NATO’s plan to bolster its collective defense posture, the Vermont ANG team will take over the mission for Hill Air Force Base’s 388th FW, which has been executing the coalition’s air policing mission since their arrival Feb. 16.

A crew chief assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing, taxis an F-35A Lightning II fifth generation aircraft assigned to the wing at the Vermont Air National Guard Base, South Burlington, Vermont, May 2, 2022. The aircraft departed to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to continue NATO’s Enhanced Air Policing mission along the Eastern Flank. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard Mekkri)

U.S. European Command’s ability to rotate units maintains readiness across the force and displays the U.S. Air Force’s ability to integrate seamlessly between active duty, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard components.

Fifth-generation aircraft provide unprecedented communication capabilities, command and control, and lethality for the combined and joint force. These capabilities afford NATO and U.S. leaders the flexibility to project power and assert air dominance in highly contested environments.

A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fifth generation fighter aircraft, assigned to the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing, flies above Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, as they prepare to take over for Hill Air Force Base’s 388th Fighter Wing May 02, 2022. U.S. European Command’s ability to rotate between units maintains readiness and morale across the force, while displaying the U.S. Air Force’s unique ability to integrate seamlessly between Active Duty, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard components. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Plyler)

Over the past two and a half months, F-35 aircraft, aircrew and support personnel have forward-deployed to Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions to enhance NATO security and stability while supporting NATO’s enhanced air policing.

The continuation of the F-35 mission gives ANG Airmen the opportunity to continue the regular touchpoints and routine training integration with U.S. allies and partners throughout Europe.