Spang Pilots Train with Moroccans at African Lion

Six F-16s and crews from the 480th Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, deployed to Ben Guerir AB, Morocco, from May 15-22, to take part in joint and combined air training as part of Exercise? African Lion. The exercise is the largest Department of Defense training event in Africa, and it marks the first year the US Air Force is participating in the event, which is led by the US Marine Corps. In addition to the airmen from Spangdahlem, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command airmen also participated in the event, flying with Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16 pilots, as well as participants from Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Senegal, and Tunisia. The training events included RMAF F-16s training in in-flight air refueling with US tanker aircraft and emergency landing barrier training. The US and the RMAF have a “long-standing friendship and an exercise like this reinforces those mutual bonds,” said USAF Maj. Dave Atkinson, air exercise training detachment commander. Morocco is a close ally of the Gulf Cooperation Council nations, and began fielding 24 new Block 52 F-16s back in 2011.