A KC-135 tanker and 15 airmen from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall, Britain, joined military units from 10 other nations yesterday in Lulea, Sweden, for Loyal Arrow 2009, a 10-day exercise hosted by the Swedish air force’s Norrbotten Wing. The Mildenhall tanker is the only aerial refueling platform participating; it is equipped to refuel aircraft that use hose and drogue systems in addition to those that have boom receptacles. “Before we got here, there was some question whether or not we’d be able to support the mission, and half the people in NATO were holding their breath waiting to see what the status of the tanker was,” said Maj. Steve Fisher of Mildenhall’s 100th Operations Support Squadron. US Air Forces in Europe also sent F-15Es from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, Britain, and barrier maintenance crews from Ramstein AB, Germany, to Loyal Arrow, which is a live-fire event as well as an integration exercise for the NATO Response Force. (Lulea report by SSgt. Austin May)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.