French, Emirati and American forces participate in UAE’s large air-combat exercise

Coalition partners UAE combat exercise
A United Arab Emirates F-16 Desert Falcon prepares to connect with a KC-10 Extender assigned to the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron out of Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

The coalition of U.S., French and Emirati Air Force’s collaborated in a two-day large force exercise beginning on Aug. 27 in United Arab Emirates.

The UAE Air Warfare Center kicked off the exercise by forming two opposing teams, Red and Blue, who began planning the mission which would be followed through the next day.

“The main objective of this exercise was to practice interoperability between numerous different nations and services,” said Maj. Karl Wilson, U.S. Air Forces Central Command AWC fighter branch chief. “We practiced a strike mission in an area heavily defended by enemy aircraft and surface-to-air missile systems. There were many tactical lessons learned, but we did successfully strike the targets with minimal losses to friendly forces.”

A lot of aircrew and aircraft came together to make the exercise possible to include: French Rafales; Emiratis F-16 Fighting Falcons; U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler and a destroyer. The U.S. Air Force provided F-35A Lightning IIs (4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron), F-15E Strike Eagles (336th EFS), F-15C Eagles (159 EFS), an E-3 Sentry (968th Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron), and a KC-10 Extender (908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron).

“The AAWC’s mission is to build partnerships, tactical capabilities and interoperability with our allies,” said Capt. Patterson Aldueza, AAWC intelligence branch officer. “These exercises highlight our coalition’s strengths and help us identify our weaknesses so that we may be more effective and lethal as a team.”

Source: 380th AEW/PA
Images: USAF/Staff Sgt. Chris Drzazgowski

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