About 170 airmen from Aviano Air Base, Italy, will travel to Turkey later this month to take part in an exercise involving forces from four nations and NATO.
The exercise, called “Anatolian Eagle 06/02,” is set for June 12-23 on and near the Turkish air base of Konya. The main American element comes from the 510th Fighter Squadron, based at Aviano. Personnel from Incirlik Air Base and the U.S. contingent at Ankara will play supporting roles.
Airmen from the Turkish air forces will take on the role of the opposing force as well as partner with U.S., French and Pakistani forces. NATO AWAC planes are also set to participate.
“It’s essentially a simulated air war,” said Air Force Maj. Cameron Dadgar, a project officer with the Office of Defense Cooperation at Ankara. Dozens of aircraft are expected to take part.
The event is the latest in a series of exercises initiated by the Turkish air force in 2000, Dadgar said. It gives the allies a chance to fly together and practice what they’d be doing in a real conflict.
For the 510th, the two weeks will provide opportunities such as low-level flying, (dummy) bomb dropping and large-scale battles that the unit rarely gets to experience in Italy. The areas the planes will be flying over are generally less populated and there are fewer restrictions than in the airspace over most of Europe.