ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — Twelve F-15E Strike Eagles from the 494th Fighter Squadron departed April 17, to participate in Strike Lance 2009 an exercise at Campia Turzii, Romania.
The exercise will afford the squadron an opportunity to train against MiG-21L's to improve their tactical flying skills.
To support the aircraft, more than 250 Airmen from 12 squadrons here deployed as well.
"The main purpose of this exercise is Theater Security Cooperation," said Air Force Maj. Jason Watson, Strike Lance 2009 project officer. "These help improve NATO relations between the U.S. Air Force and Romania."
Another purpose for the exercise is to allow the F-15 aircrews an opportunity to train against dissimilar aircraft, or aircraft other than F-15Es.
"Typically [when we're here in England] we provide ourselves with our own adversaries [our F-15s] which will replicate the counter tactics," said Air Force Capt. Christopher Koeltzow, a F-15E Weapon Systems Officer with the 494th Fighter Squadron.
The squadron does fly dissimilar training missions with the British, but he said a majority of those missions are "generally interoperability exercises to make sure we're working together seamlessly."
Deploying to exercises such as Strike Lance provides the aircrews an opportunity "to practice our skill sets against dissimilar aircraft" Koeltzow said. "More importantly this exercise, just like here in the United Kingdom, will allow us to practice working alongside another country's Air Force."
The 494th Fighter Squadron is scheduled to be deployed to Romania for two weeks.