MOD ranges used for F-15E and F-35 exercises.


The US Air Force in Europe (USAFE) is using Ministry of Defence (MOD) facilities in the UK, through the LTPA (Long Term Partnering Agreement) with QinetiQ, for F-15E and F-35 5th generation fighter aircraft training for the first time since 2015. The contract will be utilised by the 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath, 31st Fighter Wing from Aviano Air Base in Italy and the 52nd Fighter Wing from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.

The Brief

The 5 year framework contract with QinetiQ provides USAFE a fully instrumented and safe training location for the F-15E and their flagship defence platform, the F-35 5th generation fighter aircraft, when it is fully deployed in the UK and supported European bases.

The Solution

This contract provides the front line forces with the best available environment in which they can fully exercise their equipment and people, offering challenging practice scenarios and unique solutions to meet their overall operational goals. The programme will open the door for new weapons to be released in the UK for the first time. It will include air-to-ground weapon launches and air–to-air engagements following various training doctrines against a variety of challenging and realistic surface and airborne targets.

Outcomes and benefits

The training will ensure that the operational readiness of the aircrew and their equipment is maintained at a very high level which enables USAFE goals to be met; together the MOD Aberporth Range and the MOD Hebrides Range are able to facilitate these complex air-to-air and air-to-surface trials requirements and provide state-of-the-art instrumentation, subject matter experts and Combined Aerial Target Services, making the Warfighter experience relevant and realistic. Additionally, contracting through the LTPA is easy and can be done by not only UK MOD but allied forces.

Steve Wadey, Chief Executive at QinetiQ, said: "The award of this contract demonstrates how QinetiQ is enabling international defence forces to benefit from the world-class facilities we have to offer in the UK, by attracting new international customers through the successful modernisation of the UK ranges through T3E (Test, Trials, Training and Evaluation). It also validates our vision to be the chosen partner around the world for mission critical solutions, and innovating for our customer’s advantage by meeting the mission and requirements of major military forces globally."