Report: Anatolian Eagle 2019

Anatolian Eagle 2019 Konya
Turkish Air Force F-16 takes off from Konya AFB, Turkey, during the Anatolian Eagle 2019.

The Turkish-led multi-national exercise Anatolian Eagle 2019 took place from June 17-28, 2019, at the Third Main Jet Base, Konya, Turkey.

Funded by the European Deterrence Initiative, Anatolian Eagle is designed to create a realistic operational environment for aircrews to integrate and prepare for combat and is comparable to the well-known Red Flag exercise conducted at Nellis AFB. After a two-year hiatus, this year’s iteration involved participation from the U.S., Turkey, Pakistan, Jordan, Italy, Qatar, and NATO. Azerbaijan also joined the exercise as an observer country.

According to the airmen from Lakenheth AFB, UK, the Anatolian Eagle offers excellent opportunities to improve operational readiness and interoperability with allies.

“This exercise is about readiness and relationships,” said Lt. Col. Jaina Donberg, USAF 494th Fighter Squadron commander. “When we train together, we will be better prepared to respond to any crisis or contingency. By training together face-to-face and in the air, we’re building those lasting relationships, which will make us more effective in combat.”

Konia AFB hosted several aircraft from each participating nations, which included the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16, F-4 Phantom, E-3 Sentry, E-7 Wedgetail, C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster, JF-17 Thunder and AMX ground attack aircraft. They conducted different types of missions such as tactical air lift/drop, slow mover protection, combat search and rescue, anti-surface force attack operations, time sensitive training, dynamic targeting and GRAD systems. Totally, 389 sorties were flown during the exercise.

“This is a unique opportunity to train in a forward operating location in Turkey, as well as integrate from mission planning, briefing, execution and debrief with our partner and allied nations,” said Donberg.

During this training event, participants aim not only to improve air war tactics, but to exchange information and strengthen international partnerships.

“I love meeting all of our international partners,” said Maj. Allison Mandas, USAF 494th FS weapons systems officer, who believes the lessons learned will build upon the strategic objectives of U.S. and allied forces. “It’s fun working with them. I’ve learned that although we’re from different countries, we’re all pretty much the same as fighter pilots and aircrew. We share more things in common than differences.”

“We never go to war alone,” Mandas added. “Exercises such as this provide an opportunity to share lessons learned, tactics and techniques so that we all have a shared operating picture for when we do go to war.”

About 600 Turkish and over 450 foreign personnel participated in the exercise and was followed by 316 photographers and correspondents from 20 different countries and observers from 13 countries.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Images: George Karavantos

No comments

All comments related to the contents of our articles are welcome. It is not allowed to post promotional messages, links to external sites, or references to activities not related to this blog.

Powered by Blogger.