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F-16s at LakenheathAVing an exercise in Suffolk

Report and serials courtesy of Roger Smith/Lowestoft Aviation Society, photographs by Damien Burke.

8 July saw F-16C and one twin-seat F-16D Fighting Falcon aircraft arrive at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk for a two-week deployment, being a 'mix' of 555th 'Triple Nickel' Fighter Squadron and 510th 'Buzzards' Fighter Squadron aircraft.

The 510th FS are no strangers to Suffolk's skies, as they served at RAF Bentwaters as part of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing flying A-10A Thunderbolt II 'Tank-Busters' in the 1980s. The 'Buzzards' F-16s have a purple fin band with the legend 'Buzzards' across it in silver. The 555th FS 'Triple Nickel' F-16s have a green fin band with the legend 'Triple Nickel' in white across it.

Two of the aircraft were already in the UK, 89-0216 and 89-2024 having been at RAF Waddington's Air Show on 28/29 June and later in the Irish Republic for an airshow there before returning to RAF Mildenhall, where they left to rendevous with their 'buddies' from Aviano on their way to Lakenheath.
The two squadrons wasted no time in getting airborne again into English skies as two of the F-16s were noted dogfighting over Hopton, Norfolk early in the afternoon.

Support came in the form of C-130H Hercules 86-0414 of 758th Airlift Squadron/911th Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, which arrived at Lakenheath as 'PITT 14'.

31st FW (Multi):
F-16C Fighting Falcon 89-2016 c/sign REBEL 01 - Marked '16th Air Force'
F-16C Fighting Falcon 89-2137/AV c/sign VIPER 10 - Marked '31st OG'

Mission marks on 88-0491510th FS (Purple):
F-16C Fighting Falcon 88-0491/AV c/sign VIPER 02
F-16C Fighting Falcon 89-2118/AV c/sign VIPER 05
F-16C Fighting Falcon 89-2011/AV c/sign VIPER 06
F-16C Fighting Falcon 89-2030/AV c/sign VIPER 07
F-16C Fighting Falcon 89-2047/AV c/sign VIPER 11

555th FS (Green):
F-16C Fighting Falcon 89-2035/AV c/sign VIPER 01 - Marked '555 FS'
F-16D Fighting Falcon 90-0795/AV c/sign VIPER 03
F-16C Fighting Falcon 88-0425/AV c/sign VIPER 04
F-16C Fighting Falcon 88-0435/AV c/sign VIPER 08
F-16C Fighting Falcon 88-0535/AV c/sign VIPER 09
F-16C Fighting Falcon 87-0350/AV c/sign VIPER 12
F-16C Fighting Falcon 89-2024/AV c/sign REBEL 02


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