F-15s Depart Incirlik

The 12 F-15s that deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey, last month are already returning to their home base of RAF Lakenheath, England, US European Command announced. Six F-15Es arrived at Incirlik on Nov. 12 to replace F-16s that had rotated through the base. The Strike Eagles conducted operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria alongside 12 A-10s that were already deployed to the base. Six additional F-15Cs from Lakenheath had arrived at the base earlier in November to conduct combat air patrols and help Turkey protect its airspace. The 12 jets will return to RAF Lakenheath beginning Dec. 16, EUCOM announced in a release. Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters Wednesday that the deployment was not supposed to be “open-ended.” The coalition will not lose any capability in the fight against ISIS, he said, because the Navy is deploying the USS Harry S. Truman to the region, where it will join the French carrier Charles de Gaulle. Additionally, the Royal Air Force will continue conducting strikes from Cyprus, and the German Luftwaffe is deploying Tornadoes to Inclirlik. The US consulted with the Turkish government on the decision to remove the F-15s, Davis said, and it was purely “coincidental” that the aircraft began leaving the day after Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited the base. Carter did not visit with Turkish officials.