AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
The United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command conducted air training operations with forces assigned to U.S. Air Force Central Command and coalition forces in the southern Arabian Gulf, July 21, 2020.
The U.S. and UAE Air Warfare Centers started off the exercise with detailed coalition planning focused on tactics and teamwork to form a “blue force” plan for the next day, while other participants formed a “red force” adversary team of their own.
“The purpose of this exercise is building partnerships and theater security cooperation,” said Capt. Ashton “BD” Sawyer, U.S. AFCENT Air Warfare Center.
Numerous aircrew and aircraft came together to make the exercise possible including: Emiratis F-16 Blk 60 Fighting Falcons, French Rafales and Mirage 2000-9s; CN295s Airbus, AH-64 Apache; U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagles, an E-3G Sentry (AWACS), EC-130H Compass Call, and KC-10 Extenders.
On the ground, the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron and the UAE’s Air Operations Center were also fully engaged, providing critical command and control to participants. The mission commander of the exercise--in charge of both planning and leading blue force execution the following day--was led from the air by the U.S. E-3G AWACS from the 968th Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron.
“To lead a force of three nations was an incredible opportunity --to see everyone finish the exercise as part of a more capable coalition was even better,” said Lt. Col. Terry Hjerpe, EACS commander. “We were extremely proud of the focus and effort put forth by all participants and are already looking forward to the next event!”
The training allowed the coalition partners to do a vital measure in securing success - practice as a cohesive fighting force.
“It’s a great opportunity to practice the way we fight as a coalition, especially in the scope and the training objectives of defending this base,” said Maj. Tyler “Mask” Stark, U.S. AFCENT Air Warfare Center. “We’re using the assets that are here to practice that effort.”
Integration operations between UAE and U.S. forces are regularly held.
“I believe this is great training, not only just for the U.S. side but for all the partners that are involved,” said Sawyer. “It builds upon the partnerships that are already established showing that the U.S. is there to help out our coalition team in the group control center.”