Tanker crews from across Europe gathered at RAF Mildenhall, Britain, to discuss the wisdom accumulated in operations over Libya and how to improve NATO cooperation in future air campaigns. “During [Operation Unified Protector], improvements were identified, that if implemented, could have made communication easier,” said Capt. Adam Dalson of Mildenhall’s 100th Operations Group that hosted the inaugural European Tanker Symposium May 9-11. “We had a lot of time to discuss” these topics, said Belgian 1st Lt. Christophe De Greef. He added, “Hopefully, we can work them out for next time and bring some solutions to the table.” Units from Belgium, Britain, France, and Italy briefed one another on their respective air force’s equipment and tactics, paving the way for exchange of ideas. During the symposium, Mildenhall KC-135s shared the ramp with a French KC-135FR and Italian KC-767 tanker for comparison. (Mildenhall report by SrA. Rachel Waller)
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.