RAF Mildenhall and 14 other installations scattered across Europe will close as part of sweeping reorganisation of forces on the Continent, the Pentagon has announced.
Operations at RAF Mildenhall, home to Air Force special operations forces, air refueling tankers and 3,200 military personnel, will end and missions carried out there will be moved to other locations.
Two other facilities in the U.K. — RAF Alconbury and Molesworth — also will close as part of a consolidation effort. Most of the missions there will be moved to RAF Croughton.
The Pentagon plans to station two squadrons of F-35s at RAF Lakenheath by 2020.
As a result of the moves, there will be a slight reduction in overall force levels. However, Germany and Italy are expected to gain troops.
In all, the Pentagon expects to save about $500 million annually from the consolidations, which have been under review for more than a year.
In detail, RAF Mildenhall’s assigned KC-135s and the 352nd Special Operations Group will be assigned to Germany and the assigned RC-135s will go within the U.K. This paves the way for the stationing of two squadrons of F-35s at RAF Lakenheath, starting in 2020.
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