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Why fighter jets and helicopters were roaring around the skies above Swansea today

Swansea people in pre-Covid times have been used to being deafened by powerful jet engines over a couple of days in July when the Wales National Airshow has roared over the bay.

Normally, February is a quieter affair, and the skies are generally quite empty these days with so many aircraft grounded by travel restrictions forced on their customers

But the skies above Swansea were full of military hardware on Monday [February 22] as fighter jets and helicopters passed over the city.

At around 9am, people heard the telltale ‘whoosh’ and rumble of a fighter jet formation flying over and craned their necks to see what was going on.

According to reports, the aircraft headed to Swansea Bay and began circling before heading back over the city.

People in Swansea said they could hear the distant roar of jet engines for much of the rest of the morning and into the early afternoon, with reports of the noise coming in from Gower to Bonymaen.

Although there were lone RAF training jets in the area on Monday, the noisiest and most eye-catching aircraft above Swansea were piloted by the US Air Force.



Daniel Griffiths managed to capture one of the F-15s on camera

One eagle-eyed Gorseinon resident, Daniel Griffiths, managed to catch an F-15E Strike Eagle as it flew over his home at around 1.30pm.

Mr Griffiths said he couldn’t see the aircraft in the morning but had been hearing them all day and managed to grab a shot when the skies cleared.

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A US Marine corps Wildcat helicopter was also caught on video by Mr Griffiths, and flight tracking websites show that the Marines were also flying in the area on Monday.

A spokewoman for the US Air Force confirmed that 494th Fighter Squadron were conducting routine training off the coast of South Wales today using F-15Es.



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It is understood that the fighter jets came from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, home to 48th Fighter Wing and the only contingent of F-15Es operating in Europe.

According to the base’s website: “Lakenheath provides all-weather, day or night air superiority and air-to-ground precision combat capability and multi-staged improvement program avionics”.

The F-15E Strike Eagle is an all-weather multirole strike fighter and they have been deployed for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya.

The jet has a crew of two, the pilot and a weapon systems officer, and has a 42 ft wingspan. It has a maximum speed of 1,650 miles per hour and a combat range of 791 miles.

At top speed, the jet can climb 50,000 ft every minute.

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