The US Air Force forward deployed F-35 jets to bases in Poland, Lithuania and Estonia as part of Operation Rapid Forge.

This Operation is a US Air Forces in Europe-led mission to test their ability to function at locations other than main operating bases, and in more austere environments.

The exercise is designed to enhance interoperability with NATO allies, to improve readiness and sharpen operational capabilities.

In order for NATO nations to be prepared and trained to respond to any arising threat, this type of training activity is essential say the US Air Force.

“At Powidz Air Base, Poland and at Šiauilai Air Base, Lithuania, F-35A Lightning II fighter jets, F-15E Strike Eagles, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft and multifunctional Airmen conducted rapid refueling and re-arming using inert munitions. F-15E Strike Eagles and MC-130J Commando II aircraft deployed to Ämari Air Base, Estonia, where multifunctional Airmen refuelled the fighter aircraft directly from the MC-130J.

This type of exercise tests the U.S. Air Force’s ability to rapidly deploy in smaller, more efficient and agile teams to austere and potentially contested areas. Another benefit of this operation is the improvement of working in a team, consisting of different nations, with different military backgrounds, but with one common goal, securing the skies of NATO’s territory and its population. Over the course of the next days, the jets will conduct more training at other locations in the region.”

The F-35s are deployed from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base, Utah say the NATO Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office.

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Daniele Mandelli

“Multi functional airmen” ?


Just thinking about that, myself – wish I’d been multifunctional when I was an airman! Might have been able to cope with the workload a bit better…

Geoffrey Roach

ah…but we have the technology. We can rebuild you!


Just taking a stab at what I think it means… in my day, an RAF Aircraft Technicians role would encompass the whole airframe, including control systems, hydraulics, pneumatics, landing gear (wheels, tyres and brakes) most mechanical systems, etc. whilst I think a USAF Specialist would just, for example, specialise in only landing gear (and possibly even just brake systems). So perhaps a USAF ‘multifunctional airman’ may extend their role to more than just one single speciality. All open to discussion, of course…

Nigel Collins

Some interesting developments!

“MoD announces Project ‘Mosquito’ contracts to develop unmanned technologies for fast jets”


Yeah, I saw that as well. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of it. It’s a pity we mothballed the T2 Typhoons, as they’d be ideal for trialing this development.

Nigel Collins

Lots happening presently, that could be very good news for the future development of Tempest!

“Early work will include “development of a joint acquisition roadmap, identifying technologies to spiral from Gripen and [Eurofighter] Typhoon onto an FCAS, and identifying early opportunities to insert advanced technologies onto Gripen and Typhoon”, the MoD says. Cost modelling work will also be conducted.”

“Leonardo UK managing director Norman Bone tells FlightGlobal that he hopes Italy will be the next nation to join the Tempest activity. “We see this as absolutely the right thing to do,” he says.”