Starting on Aug. 25, NATO will begin Exercise Brilliant Arrow in central Norway, the first in a series of four training events scheduled through the end of the year to stress the readiness and interoperability of the NATO Response Force, according to alliance officials. “We are operating as a seamless integrated team right now, and we aim to maintain this level of cohesion . . . by intensifying our education, training, and exercises across the air, land, and sea domains,” said Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, in a blog post earlier this month. Brilliant Arrow, which runs through Sept. 5, will include 40 fighter aircraft, two airborne early warning platforms, and some 800 participants from 10 member nations, he said. Following this will be Exercise Brilliant Mariner in late September and early October focused on maritime readiness. Special forces will then conduct Exercise Brilliant Sword in Italy in October. The final event in this year’s series is Exercise Steadfast Jazz in November in several alliance nations, including the Baltic States, and Poland. (See also NATO release.)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.