555th FS F-16 Fighting Falcons take off for Falcon Strike 2022

  • Published
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

Exercise Falcon Strike 2022—an Italian Air Force training exercise which focuses on fifth and fourth-generation integration between NATO Allies operating the advanced F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter—kicked off today, continuing through Nov. 28, at Italy’s Amendola Air Base.

U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa has routinely supported the annual exercise, which, for the first time, will incorporate the 48th Fighter Wing’s F-35 aircraft from the 495th “Valkyries” Fighter Squadron, the first organically available fifth-generation assets within U.S. European Command’s area of responsibility.  RAF Lakenheath continually supports training and operations across the theater since their F-35s initial arrival in December 2021.

Aviano Air Base’s 31st Fighter Wing will also support the exercise from the 555th “Triple Nickel” Fighter Squadron flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon, which will support fourth-generation fighter air warfare training.

“Falcon Strike 2022 provides our Airmen and Allies critical opportunities to train how we fight – together,” said Gen. James Hecker, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander.  “Any opportunity to train and operate as a coalition force strengthens the Alliance as we face more dynamic threats in highly contested environments.”

European Allies and Partners form the backbone of USAFE’s Agile Combat Employment concept.  The ability to rapidly deploy to and operate from dispersed locations provide U.S. EUCOM and NATO senior leaders with strategic basing options to counter a range of threats.

During Falcon Strike, Hecker will also host the F-35 European Air Chiefs Meeting, which brings together fifth-generation Allies to discuss F-35 interoperability, opportunities, and challenges in a dynamic theater.

For more information on Falcon Strike 2022, please contact U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Public Affairs via email at usafepao.pao@us.af.mil.