The 493rd Fighter Squadron (Grim Reapers) as part of the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, received it’s first F-15C Eagle aircraft in November 1993 and activated shortly after that on 1st January 1994.  The first two aircraft received, were from a unit that deactivated at Bitburg AFB in Germany.  These were followed by a number of factory fresh aircraft and then more from a deactivated unit at Spangdahlem AFB which is also in Germany.

The 493rd has flown its F-15C and twin seat F-15D variant on missions in support of USAFE and NATO operations for just over 28 years.  April 2022 will see remaining F-15C and D aircraft return to the USA where some of them will supplement the aircraft already in use with the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes ANGB MA.

As of April 2022, the role played by the 493rd FS is in the process of being taken over by the 495th FS which is slowly building up its squadron strength with the F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter.  Photo Credits Andrew Jewson and Doug MacDonald