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UAE-U.S. Air Warfare Centers lead joint large force employment

Two U.S. F-15Cs from Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fly behind a KC-10 Extender assigned to the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing during a large force employment, Aug 25, 2020, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

Two U.S. F-15Cs assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron, Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fly behind a KC-10 Extender assigned to the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing during a large force employment, Aug 25, 2020, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. Through joint exercises or direct operations, the 378th and 380th Air Expeditionary Wings continues to strengthen relationships with regional and coalition partners to defend the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Charles Taylor)

A French Rafale connects to a fuel line of a KC-10 Extender from the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron during a large force employment, Aug. 25, 2020, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

A French Air Force Rafale connects to a fuel line of a KC-10 Extender from the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron during a large force employment, Aug. 25, 2020, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. Through joint exercises or direct operations, the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing continues to strengthen relationships with regional and coalition partners to defend the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Charles Taylor)

An U.S. F-15C from Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia connects to the boom of a KC-10 Extender from the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron during a large force employment, Aug. 25, 2020, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

An U.S. F-15C assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron, Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia connects to the boom of a KC-10 Extender from the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron during a large force employment, Aug. 25, 2020, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. Through joint exercises or direct operations, the 378th and 380th Air Expeditionary Wings continues to strengthen relationships with regional and coalition partners to defend the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Charles Taylor)

Two U.S. F-15C Eagles from 44th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (foreground) and two French Rafales fly along a KC-10 Extender assigned to the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing during a large force employment at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates Aug. 25, 2020.

Two U.S. F-15C Eagles assigned to the 44th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (foreground) and two French Rafales fly along a KC-10 Extender assigned to the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing during a large force employment at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates Aug. 25, 2020. Through joint exercises or direct operations, the 378th and 380th Air Expeditionary Wings continues to strengthen relationships with regional and coalition partners to defend the region. (U.S. Air Force photographer by Master Sgt. Patrick OReilly)

An F-15C Eagle from 44th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flies along a KC-10 Extender from the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron during a large force employment at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates Aug. 25, 2020.

An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 44th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flies along a KC-10 Extender from the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron during a large force employment at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates Aug. 25, 2020. Through joint exercises or direct operations, the 378th and 380th Air Expeditionary Wings continue to strengthen relationships with regional and coalition partners to defend the region. (U.S. Air Force photographer by Master Sgt. Patrick OReilly)

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.”

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