C-130Js from Ramstein AB, Germany, flew tactical support training alongside Israeli Air Force C-130s during the two-week Exercise Noble Shirley 2015, at Nevatim AB, Israel. “This exercise gave us the ability to practice in austere landing condition in a controlled environment,” Ramstein’s 37th Airlift Squadron pilot Capt. Joe Eastman said in a June 2 release. The training exercise included personnel from all US service branches as well as the Israeli Defense Forces. Tactical elements included low-level and night-vision assisted ops, tactical assault landings, as well as low-altitude airdrop and airborne insertion. “The most challenging mission on the part of our partners was landing on improvised runways. They don’t do that at all in Europe,” said IAF Lt. Col. Ori, commander of the IAF’s C-130J-equiped 103 Squadron, dubbed the “Elephants,” in an Israeli release. Both IAF C-130Js and legacy C-130s from Nevatim’s host 131 Squadron “Yellow Birds” took part in the May exercise, according to the IAF.
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.