Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has ordered forward an additional 68 U.S. Air Force aircraft to join other U. S. aircraft participating in NATO's Operation ALLIED FORCE. The additional aircraft include the deployment of a squadron of F-16CJs (12 aircraft) and two squadrons of F-15Es (36 aircraft total) from the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command as well as 20 KC-135s from the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command.
These aircraft are part of the 176-aircraft increment approved for deployment by the Secretary on May 6, 1999.
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, 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 currently supporting Operation ALLIED FORCE to 769 aircraft. These aircraft will begin to deploy next week.
The additional aircraft, a part of the Air Force's Air Combat Command, will deploy with a full complement of aircrew and support personnel.