Raptors and Super Hornets Visit RAF Lakenheath

Raptors and Super Hornets Visit RAF Lakenheath

Report and photos by Edwin Schimmel

October 13, 2018

In the beginning of October, eight US Navy F/A-18’s and six US Air Force F-22’s landed in the United Kingdom, Europe. The Super Hornets landed at RAF Lakenheath at the end of the afternoon on October the 4th followed by six Raptors one day later. The F/A-18E/F’s all came from the USS Harry Truman (CVN-75), the carrier itself on its way to the harbour of  Portsmouth in the UK. The Super Bugs belonged to VFA-11 ‘Red Rippers’, VFA-81 ‘Sunliners’, VFA-136 ‘Knighthawks’ and VFA-211 ‘Checkmates’.

The Raptors all came from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia and belonged to the 1st Fighter Wing. The fighters of this short term deployment trained with U.S. allies and partners as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to European regional security. One main mission a day was flown with take-offs at the end of the morning and landings 1.5 hours later. The first days the package consisted of eight F-15C Eagles from the RAF Lakenheath based 493rd Fighter Squadron, six F/A-18E/F’s and four F-22’s supported by two or three KC-135 tankers from nearby based RAF Mildenhall.

Edwin Schimmel
Edwin Schimmel (41) was born in The Netherlands in the approach/take off area of Soesterberg Air Base. After seeing the F-15’s from the 32nd Fighter Squadron (USAFE) overflying his house four times a day by the end of the 80’s, beginning of the 90’s his enthusiasm for military aviation was woken. Edwin entered the world of military aviation photography in 1992, back than with an analog Minolta, nowadays with professional Canon equipment. His first article and photo publications happened mid 90’s in Dutch aviation magazines. Later, his work was published in international magazines like Air Forces Monthly and Combat Aircraft.

Since 2000 Edwin works within the Royal Netherlands Air Force within Air Traffic Control. The last years Edwin visited several bases and exercises throughout Western Europe, but also went to the US and recently to Japan.

Edwin can be reached at: [email protected]
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