US F-15 warplanes return from Turkey

Twelve F-15 fighter jets return to Lakenheath base in UK as US sends air carrier to Persian Gulf

US F-15 warplanes return from Turkey

World Bulletin / News Desk

Twelve U.S. F-15 fighter jets deployed temporarily in Turkey’s Incirlik air base last month returned to their Lakenheath airbase in the U.K. on Wednesday.

The U.S. European Command (EUCOM) said that the temporary deployment strengthened interoperability of the U.S. and Turkish air forces in defending Turkish airspace and conducting operations against Daesh.

"During this deployment, a bilateral agreement was finalized that outlined the procedures for combat air patrol missions to be flown by U.S. pilots and aircraft," EUCOM said.

"This enduring agreement and knowledge gained from these training missions allows the U.S. Air Force to support the air defense missions in Turkey if needed, either with these F-15 air frames or other U.S. platforms in the future."

The U.S. had deployed six F-15C warplanes to Incirlik on Nov. 6 on the request of Ankara, in order to strengthen Turkey’s air defense against possible threats from Syria.

"This deployment served not only as an immediate response to a request from an ally, but as an exercise for the U.S. Air Force ability to deploy aircraft and airmen on short notice to Turkey, if ever needed," EUCOM said.

Six other F-15E type fighter jets were deployed in Incirlik on Nov. 12 to conduct operations against Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

The U.S. European Command stressed that the end of F-15 deployments does not indicate a reduction in operations against Daesh.

"Coalition aircraft operating from Incirlik are expected to increase and continue to increase in the coming months," EUCOM said.

A dozen A-10 Warthog aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft remain at Incirlik airbase to continue military operations against Daesh, it added. 

A Pentagon spokesman said that pulling the F-15s out of Incirlik would not influence the U.S. air campaign against Daesh, noting that the aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman is enroute to the Persian Gulf. 

The vessel will join the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Gulf, which arrived earlier this month. 

"Certainly we've said we plan, particularly with regards to Syria, to thicken the air campaign and you've seen that," Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said, adding: "I think there's a continued effort to want to do that, absolutely."

The U.S. had lacked an aircraft carrier in the region as the USS Theodore Roosevelt left the area in early October. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Aralık 2015, 08:51