Spangdahlem Air Base (AB) in Germany has hosted a large force exercise, which saw the participation of multiple wings from across US Air Forces (USAF) in Europe and Air Forces Africa (USAFE).
Focused on aircrew integration across multiple platforms, the exercise was aimed at enhancing the readiness of the units. It was also conducted to ensure the readiness of the Nato alliance’s collective defence.
F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron, F-16s assigned to the 510th FS at Aviano AB in Italy and F-15 Eagles assigned to the 494th FS at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath in the UK were the participating aircraft and units.
Other units included C-130 Hercules assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein AB in Germany and KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall in the UK.
Large force exercises use different airspaces ensuring flexibility of the aircrew. The logistics were provided by the 52nd Fighter Wing.
During the operation, multiple platforms are paired to improve interoperability and maximise capabilities of participating aircraft.
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USAFE 480th FS pilot Captain Christian Pisanelli said: “As a pilot in USAFE’s sole suppression of enemy air defences squadron, I particularly value the unique capabilities and advantages each aircraft brings to the fight.
“Developing a game plan to synergise those capabilities and executing a game plan together is always a remarkable experience.”
Furthermore, the exercise trains pilots and the ground force. It strengthens the combat readiness and increases the tactical proficiency of the airmen.
USAFE 480th FS commander Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Kennedy said: “The goal is to provide realistic combat training that can face advanced adversary forces. Exercises provide operationally realistic and highly dynamic scenarios.
“Across the major command, our maintenance squadrons spend countless hours making sure our aircraft are ready to perform the mission.
“Also, our mission support agencies make sure the airfield is ready for use, the jets are fuelled, and our emergency responders are prepared for any contingency.”