With the completion of last month’s Eager Lion 2013 exercise in Jordan, F-16s from the Colorado Air National Guard’s 120th Fighter Squadron and Ohio Air Guard’s 112th FS remained in Jordan to continue training activities with the Royal Jordanian Air Force. These aircraft were flying “continued training” sorties with the Jordanian military as of the end of June, said US Central Command spokesman Mark Blackington. Along with them, a pair of Army Patriot missile batteries stayed in Jordan after Eager Lion concluded on June 20. Air Forces Central Command officials noted that the exercise concluded with a large bilateral combat search and rescue exercise. This entailed the simulated rescue of a downed pilot behind enemy lines, with the participation of F-16s from the RJAF’s No. 1 Squadron and the two US Air Guard units. Jordanian MD 530 and UH 60 helicopters also participated. Both US and Jordanian F-16s helped locate the pilot and cover the helicopter extraction, while other F-16s simulated hostile aircraft attempting to disrupt the rescue. (See also The Syria Question.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.