AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
The coalition of U.S., French and Emirati Air Force’s conducted a two-day large force exercise staged from various locations on Aug. 24-25.
The United Arab Emirates Air Warfare Center led the exercise by forming two opposing teams, Red and Blue. Blue’s mission was to execute an offensive counter air mission with an escort and strike component. Red’s job was to safely make blue’s mission as difficult as possible. Mission planning was guided by members of the U.S. Air Forces Central Command Air Warfare Center, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, French Air Force and UAE Air Force and Air Defence.
The assets which came together to make this trilateral exercise possible included: French Rafales; Emirati F-16s, Mirage 2000-9s, Bombardier Global 6000, A-660s, AH-64 Apaches, RQ-1 Predator, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and Ground Controlled Interception . The U.S. Air Force provided F-15C Eagles from the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing, MQ-9 Reaper, RQ-4 Global Hawk, KC-10 Extender, JTACs and an E-3G Sentry.
“Readiness is a key component to victory in any domain,” said Capt. “BD” Sawyer AFCENT AWC chief of command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. “Constant, challenging training ensures allied forces are ready to tackle any threat at a moment’s notice.”
This large force employment was different than others because it featured the first ever UAE/U.S. airborne command and control LFE exercise. The E-3G and Global 6000 controlled opposing sides of the fight while coming up with tactics to complicate the others plan, ultimately driving lessons learned.
“Strengthening our coalition through exercising is what will ensure we meet future defense requirements,” said Capt. “Grinder” Hebert, 968th Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron chief of weapons and tactics. “The execution of the E-3G and Global 6000 was instrumental in moving toward a C2 (command and control) partnership where the U.S. and UAE dominate multiple domains.”
In partnership, many individuals were key in the vital planning and facilitating of the exercise. The training allows coalition partners to operate in a safe environment while gaining invaluable combined experience.
“Multilateral exercises provide an opportunity for all nations involved to practice planning, fighting, and unifying forces to meet common objectives,” said Maj. Steve, AFCENT AWC Remote Piloted Aircraft instructor. “Building partner capacity and increasing our collective interoperability strengthens our forces and prepares us all for future challenges.”
“Coalition cohesion was in full display, battling through adversity imposed by the global pandemic,” said Sawyer. “Proving our forces can power through difficult circumstances, adhere to COVID-19 safety precautions and still maintain a high level of readiness.”