American F-16 fighters from the 169th Fighter Wing stationed at the McEntire Joint National Guard Base are to be stationed at the 32nd Air Base in Łask, Poland until the end of June. The fighters are taking part in another rotation of the Aviation Detachment.
The Polish F-16 fighters stationed in Łask are to be accompanied by 8 US National Guard fighters of the same type. The US Vipers come from South Carolina, and the pilots who, according to the information obtained from the Polish MoD’s spokesperson, Col. Jacek Sońta, arrived in Poland between 24th and 30th May, are to take part in the US Aviation Detachment operations. The aim of the initiative is to bolster the NATO forces through regular, joint training, carried out together by the elements of the Polish and the US Air Forces.
At the same time, the Aviation Detachment term refers to the US Armed Forces element which is permanently stationed in Poland, the tasks of which is to prepare the US soldiers presence, when they are deployed to Poland four times a year. The presence of the Aviation Detachment is rotational – the current rotation is to be stationed in Łask until the end of June. Throughout that period the aviators from the southern USA are to be involved in the Saber Strike, Baltops and Eagle Talon exercises.
Besides the F-16 fighters, the previous rotations also involved the C-130 transport aircraft. The US Air Force elements have been present in Poland since 2013. The legal basis for that presence stems from an inter-governmental agreement, according to which, starting from 2012, a permanent USAF element, consisting of 10 persons (Aviation Detachment), is present in Poland. That element is tasked with preparation of the USAF fighter jets and transport aircraft deployments at the Polish Łask and Powidz air bases.