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493rd Fighter Squadron - USAF

RAF Lakenheath is essentially Fighter Town for us Brits, lots of jets, lots of noise and it’s all done with lots of skill and style. Operated by the USAF since 1948 it has been essential to the US and their operational capabilities in Europe and further afield ever since. Leading the way in air defence was the 493rd with their F15Cs.


In 2022 the squadron was winding down operations with the Cs in preparation for transitioning to the F35s. Their commander was Lt Col Todd ‘Buddha’ Pearson and would be the last man to fly the C out of LN.

Buddha F15C Fighter Pilot 493rd Squadron RAF Lakenheath

This shoot was organise and run with Rich Cooper of the Centre of Aviation Photography. Once through security we went down to the squadron HQ building and obviously made a b-line for the bar! Ok fine all the ‘Av Swag’ was up there but don’t judge!

Heading out to the HAS through the treeline was a slightly different experience but it gave a nice reveal to the painted jet that was to be the last aircraft to leave the UK. Sporting it’s painted black tail and red crest on the port side nose it looked fantastically imposing in front of the HAS.

RAF Lakenheath F15C 493rd Squadron

RAF Lakenheath F15C 493rd Squadron

After a period of organised rotations around the jet the group were given the opportunity to move in close to the jet and shoot some different bits that ordinarily you would never have the opportunity to achieve.

RAF Lakenheath F15C 493rd Squadron

Spending roughly an hour and half with the squadron we headed back to the squadron building and thanked our hosts for their hospitality. Always a pleasure to be on station at LN, they carry a great deal of energy, enthusiasm and purpose fora aviation and flying which is something I can personally relate to.


Many thanks to the 493rd and the station staff for accommodating us! 


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