Busy Week Puts USAF Airpower on Display in Europe

An EC-130H Compass Call prepares to take off to execute the first training mission with an upgraded cockpit acquired via the avionic viability program at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., on July 11, 2016. One of the aircraft assigned to the base's 55th Electronic Combat Group is deployed to Poland for training. USAF photo.

USAF aircraft and personnel are deployed throughout the European theater this week supporting everything from large-scale multinational exercises to Swiss flight evaluations.

Aircraft, ships, and personnel from 18 nations, including the United States, will participate in the annual Exercise Baltic Operations 2019, a large-scale, maritime-focused event allows NATO nations to train in Eastern Europe. The Air Force participation in this year’s event includes KC-135s and F-15s from RAF Lakenheath, England, according to a USAFE release.

Multiple KC-135s and personnel from the Tennessee and Wisconsin Air National Guards also are deployed to Bulgaria for exercise Saber Guardian 19, which features about 8,000 participants from allied nations operating in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania, according to USAFE.

F-35s from Hill AFB, Utah, are deployed to Los Llanos AB, Spain, for a NATO Tactical Leadership Program flying course, where they will fly alongside aircraft from Spain, Poland, and Greece.

Hill F-35s also deployed to Payerne AB, Switzerland, last week to demonstrate the F-35A’s capabilities during Swiss Flight Evaluations. Switzerland hosted five competitors during the evaluations—Lockheed Martin F-35A, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18E/F, Airbus Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, and Saab Gripen E—as it tries to figure out the best path forward for recapitalizing its fighter fleet.

Additionally, an EC-130 Compass Call has deployed to Krzesiny AB, Poland, for additional training.