Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has ordered the deployment of up to an additional 176 Air Force and Marine aircraft to join other U.S. aircraft participating in NATO's Operation ALLIED FORCE. The additional aircraft include the deployment of a squadron of A-10s (18 aircraft), a squadron of F-16CJs (18 aircraft), two squadrons of F-15Es (36 aircraft total), two squadrons of FA-18Ds (24 aircraft total) and up to 80 KC-135 equivalent tanker aircraft.
This deployment fulfills in part an earlier request for more aircraft from Gen. Wesley K. Clark, commander in chief, U.S. European Command, and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR). The aircraft will support increased operational requirements identified by Clark in his earlier request. The deployment of these additional aircraft will bring the total number of U.S. aircraft supporting Operation ALLIED FORCE to more than 800 aircraft. These aircraft will begin to move when directed by Clark.
The deployment of the additional tankers will also require use of the previously announced Presidential Selective Reserve Call-up for the activation of Air Force Reserve component units, which will be announced as they are activated and called forward.