492nd Fighter Squadron Certifies BAK-14 System in Estonia

A USAF F-15E Strike Eagle with the 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath, England, flies during a deployment to Amari AB, Estonia, on Nov. 1. Air Force photo by SrA. Kelly O’Connor.

The 492nd Fighter Squadron, from RAF Lakenheath, England, certified the BAK-14 cable arresting system at Amari AB, Estonia, on Nov. 2, the 48th Fighter Wing said in a Nov. 5 release. The system, which was funded by the European Deterrence Initiative, safely brings fighter aircraft to a halt in case of emergencies.

Before the system could be certified, one of the squadron’s F-15E Strike Eagles had to demonstrate that it could stop successfully after a high-speed taxi. Barrier technicians from the US, Estonia, and Germany also inspected the system to ensure it was working as intended, the squadron’s director of operations said.

KC-135s from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England, deployed along with the F-15Es, refueling and flying in formation with them en-route to the certification event, according to a Nov. 5 release from the wing.

The EDI, formerly known as the European Reassurance Initiative, was first proposed in June 2014 in Poland to reassure NATO members, especially those along the Eastern flank, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea

EDI-funded activities boost US troops’ “capability and readiness” so they can respond more quickly to acts of regional aggression against NATO allies’ sovereign territory, the release said.

The 492th FS also wrapped-up close air support training with Estonian Joint Terminal Attack controllers on Nov. 2.

Lt. Col. Benjamin Donberg, the 492nd FS’ director of operations, said the Estonian JTACs are “very proficient and effective using NATO-standard procedures” even there is “a limited amount of close air support capable fighters” in the region, which makes it hard for the controllers to meet their currency requirements.

“The end result was excellent integration training for our F-15E aircrew as well as improved readiness for the Estonian JTACs,” Donberg continued.