The Defense Department will move to consolidate several U.S. infrastructures in Europe and establish a base for the F-35 program at RAF Lakenheath in the U.K under a $985 million initiative.
DoD plans to relocate the KC-135s and the 352nd Special Operations Wing to Germany and the assigned RC-135s within the U.K., the department said Thursday.
The relocation will result in the stationing of two F-35 squadrons at RAF Lakenheath beginning in 2020.
The department will also return control of the RAF Alconbury, RAF Molesworth and supporting sites to the U.K. while majority of U.S. personnel assigned to these bases will move into RAF Croughton.
The 606th Air Control Squadron will also relocate to Italy from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.
The number of U.S. military and civilian personnel at Lajes Field in the Azores, Portugal, will decrease by nearly 500 as part of the European infrastructure consolidation, DoD says.
“In the end, this transformation of our infrastructure will help maximize our military capabilities in Europe and help strengthen our important European partnerships, so that we can best support our NATO allies and partners in the region,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The U.S. Air Force will also base the F-35 fighter jet in Europe and the aircraft is scheduled to arrive at RAF Lakenheath in 2020.