Lakenheath F-15Es train with Swedish special operators

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Four F-15E Strike Eagles from RAF Lakenheath in England traveled to Sweden Nov. 12 for a week-long bilateral exercise with American and Swedish special operations forces.

The Swedish-led exercise, which wrapped up Wednesday, also included conventional forces from both nations taking part in land, air and maritime exercises, Lakenheath’s 48th Fighter Wing said in a Nov. 13 release.

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft, assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing, receives fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft over Sweden Nov. 13. The Swedish-led exercises were conducted across air, land and sea domains enhancing readiness and interoperability in the Baltic Sea region. (Senior Airman Benjamin Cooper/Air Force)

The exercise, which took place in several locations across Sweden, was intended to improve how the nations’ forces work together, and improve the 48th’s ability to respond to threats in the Baltic Sea region alongside the Swedes, the release said.

The fighters were from the 494th Fighter Squadron.

“This goes a long way to show the strength of our relationship and the capacity to operate together in support of stability in the Baltic region,” Maj. Nate Wallace, the 48th Fighter Wing’s lead mission planner for the exercise, said in the release. “For us, this was a fantastic opportunity to not only train with the Swedish armed forces, but to practice 21st century close air support by operating almost completely in the digital realm.”

A Swedish air force JAS 39 Gripen aircraft receives fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, during joint exercises with the Swedish armed forces near Sweden, Nov. 13. (Senior Airman Benjamin Cooper/Air Force)

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At least one KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall in England also provided refueling support for the nation’s fighters.

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Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.

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