Eagles in the Gulf

After years of absence, F-15C Eagles are flying in Southwest Asia once again, operating from the undisclosed air base in the region that is home to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. Air Forces Central spokesman Maj. James Bressendorff told the Daily Report that the F-15s “arrived at the 380th AEW in January 2011” and “help provide regional stability and security.” AFCENT did not directly address if the Eagles are meant to help dissuade Iranian aggression; that seems to be a likely reason for their presence. While in the region, the F-15s are also training with partner air forces, including exercises at the host nation’s Air Warfare Center, said Bressendorff. Expeditionary contingents of airmen and F-15s from Kadena AB, Japan, have been filling the rotations. As of last month, an expeditionary unit from Kadena’s 44th Fighter Squadron was deployed, according to a 380th AEW release. The Kadena F-15s, equipped with advanced electronically scanned area radars, are some of the Air Force’s most sophisticated Eagles. While multirole F-15E Strike Eagles and F-16s have been steady fixtures in Southwest Asia in recent years, F-15Cs have not. The Air Force pulled them from there after the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom since there was no role for the dedicated air-to-air fighters once coalition aircraft established air supremacy over Iraq.