A complex multinational air exercise was staged recently over NATO’s member state Slovakia earlier in the month to provide those participating with a sophisticated, contested threat.
The long-range exercise meant that aircraft from Slovakia, France, Türkiye, the United States and the United Kingdom often flew from their home bases and were challenged by the joint German-Netherlands, surface based air and missile defence Patriot missile batteries that are currently deployed in Slovakia to guard NATO’s eastern flank.
Participating aircraft were both 4th and 5th Generation fighters, including Lockheed Martin F-22s, Dassault Rafales, Mikoyan MiG-29s and Eurofighter Typhoons alongside Boeing B-52 bombers, all of which were support by a number of air refuelling aircraft.
Led by Allied Air Command, the exercise was designed to provide essential joint training including the employment of precision strike capabilities, enhancing Alliance interoperability and improving readiness.
“The participation of such a diverse and capable array of Allied aircraft demonstrates the Alliance’s ability to react to any threat to NATO nations across the Euro-Atlantic area,” said Air Marshal Johnny Stringer, Deputy Commander, Allied Air Command.
“Allied air power operates freely and rapidly across SACEUR’s area of responsibility, and is essential to ensuring freedom of access and the maintenance of collective security. Training like this displays the reach, interoperability and agility of our forces that continue to safeguard all NATO nations,” he concluded.
This was the first mission for the USAF B-52 bombers post their arrival in Europe on 18 August for a scheduled Bomber Task Force rotation. This will see them operating alongside Allies across the continent during similar missions for the next two months.
by Andrew Drwiega