QATAR, AFCENT validate tactics during Exercise Sky Shield III

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dylan Nuckolls
  • AFCENT Public Affairs

Airmen from U.S. Air Forces Central and the Qatar Emiri Air Force participated in Exercise Sky Shield III at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Aug. 1-4, 2021.

Sky Shield III is a bilateral defensive counter-air combat patrol and combat search and rescue exercise designed to validate AFCENT and QEAF’s combined capability to defend regional airspace.

“Sky Shield III showcases our resolute partnership with the Qatar Emiri Air Force,” said Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, 9th Air Force (AFCENT) commander. “Qatar plays a key role in the collective defense of this region. By strengthening our interoperability with the QEAF, we’re better able to deter threats to the security and stability of the Arabian Gulf.”

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons and Qatar Emiri Air Force Rafales, Mirages, AH-64E Apaches, an AW-139 helicopter and the QEAF Air Operations Center took part in the exercise.

“This exercise validated interoperability of our air forces conducting successful defensive counter air operations.” said Maj Dustin Mayes, AFCENT/A5 Senior Defense Officer-Qatar Air Defense Liaison Team. “The success of Sky Shield III provided valuable lessons learned, and strengthened the USAF and Qatar Emiri Air Force’s security cooperation efforts.”

The third iteration of the Sky Shield exercise provided Qatari pilots the opportunity to tactically command both U.S. and QEAF formations of aircraft to achieve an aerial advantage against a simulated threat. The exercise also allowed Qatari airmen to practice their combat search and rescue procedures.

Sky Shield is just one of many ways AFCENT is working to build interoperability with the QEAF.

“We continue to support the QEAF in the development of their Joint Tactical Air Control and Link-16 capabilities, as well as additional exercises that we are planning with our valued partners,” said Mayes.  “We look forward to continue building on the success of Sky Shield III.”